InfoComm 2018: global trends and local highlights
The first InfoComm show in North America organised in the name of the newly rebranded AVIXA got off to a promising start, attracting nearly 43,000 registered attendees, 10 percent more than the 2016 show, the last time InfoComm was held in Las Vegas
Jason McGraw, CTS, CAE, Senior Vice President of Expositions, AVIXA said: “We continue to develop new offerings that celebrate and explore in-depth the many facets of technology experiences. Our exhibitors took the lead with solutions that continue to push the envelope of what AV can deliver, and our many subject-matter experts and thought leaders contributed to a program that gave all attendees the opportunity to think differently about the role audiovisual technology plays in people’s lives.”
InfoComm 2018 visitors were drawn from all 50 United States and 108 other countries, with some 20 percent of attendees from outside the U.S. The show’s 964 exhibitors anchored a massive expo that spanned 550,000 net square feet of exhibits, demo rooms, and special events space, making it the biggest InfoComm ever. Some 94 percent of this year’s exhibit space was rebooked for InfoComm 2019, a new record.
Emerging Trends Day, held in association with the IMCCA, attracted more than 600 attendees, before the InfoComm show opened, to explore everything from the digital workplace and smart buildings to global brands in Touchscreens
Microsoft partners on new collaborative hardware
While the geographical spread of attendees at InfoComm 2019 was nowhere near as diverse as ISE, InfoComm provided plenty of evidence of the increasingly globalised nature of the supply side of the AV industry. In part, this is due to the concentration of major software developers in the USA, driving the global hardware manufacturing business.
At much the same time as InfoComm, Nick Parker, Microsoft corporate vice president of Platforms, announced a new 70” Windows Collaboration Display developed by Sharp at Computex 2018. In the future, the opportunity to leverage artificial intelligence (AI), ubiquitous computing and Microsoft 365 multi-device and multi-sense experiences has never been greater. Together with hardware partners, Microsoft believes it can create new, compelling devices and experiences in the era of the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud.
“To accelerate innovation in this new era we invite all our partners to join our Intelligent Edge Partner Community. The community will help partners connect with one another to identify opportunities to collaborate on technology innovation and achieve shared business goals. In addition, community members will be able to participate in training and community events and can participate in early-adopter programs that provide access to documentation, specs, OS builds and certification details,” explained Parker and Sones.
To progress this initiative, Microsoft announced a new category of teamwork devices: Windows Collaboration Displays. These large, interactive displays will let people experience Microsoft 365 collaboration tools: Office, Teams and Whiteboard at room scale, and include built-in sensors that can connect to Azure IoT spatial intelligence capabilities. The technology will allow facility managers to utilize environmental data to make real-time decisions. A variety of collaboration displays, from Sharp and Avocor should be available later this year.
The new collaboration displays are fully compatible with Windows 10 and deliver the power and productivity of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams at room scale. They offer people new ways to connect, collaborate and deliver results. Both Avocor and Microsoft understand that the most effective businesses have a team-based, collaborative culture and are focused on enabling creativity and productivity.
Collaboration displays built by Avocor will deliver a new level of empowerment for people to work together in real-time and collaborate in efficient and intuitive ways. These brand-new 4K 20-point touch displays will offer flawless pen and inking capabilities that enable people to easily use the best of Microsoft 365 collaboration tools – from Windows and Office to Microsoft Whiteboard and Microsoft Teams – at room scale, all backed by the intelligent cloud.
The upcoming Windows collaboration product line by Avocor will feature integrated cameras, stereo speakers, far field microphones, and pen., and will easily connect to any Windows 10 PC via a single USB-C. In addition to being teamwork devices, Windows collaboration displays from Avocor will include built-in sensors that connect to Azure IoT, so facility managers can utilize the environmental data they collect to make real-time decisions.
Clevertouch in the USA
Microsoft’s collaboration devices won’t be the only new touchscreen option available to American customers and resellers. For the last ten years, Clevertouch has enjoyed sales in the US and Canada through a network of loyal local partners. Clevertouch will now launch the full range of multi award winning Pro Series, Plus Series and V Series to Canada and the US.
Led by newly appointed Vice President of Clevertouch USA, Paul Hickey, Clevertouch will continue to build the business through current operations and new US partners. Hickey has more than 20 years of AV sales experience with senior roles at Phonic Ear, Vice President of Sales at FrontRow and more recently Director of Sales at Toshiba.
Simon Chidsey, International Director for Clevertouch operations commented: “Since 2009, when Clevertouch was first to market with touchscreens in the UK, we’ve seen rapid growth in and beyond the UK. The strategy is to place local teams on the ground and our overall aim is to take 20% market share of the US interactive market. It is definitely possible with our dedicated Enterprise and Education products and expanded North American team now in place”.
Hickey commented: “It’s clear that the team behind Clevertouch has a passion and drive for innovation and technology. Having had operations here in the US over the last ten years, we believe the time is right to have US headquarters based in Austin supported by a local team on the ground to expand our US presence further”.
InfoComm marked the beginning of Clevertouch’s North American presence with dedicated headquarters in Austin, Texas serving the growing domestic market needs.
New Panasonic 4K professional display series
Panasonic unveiled a new large format 4K display series, with models including 86 and 98-inch models with 500cd/m2 brightness, for digital signage or for use in corporate, classroom and retail environments. The SQ1 series features a lightweight, slim and stylish design with a bright and efficient panel for exceptional visibility and 24/7 operation.
“At Panasonic, we are committed to continually improving our display line up in terms of its performance, versatility and efficiency, no matter what the intended application or venue is,” said Hartmut Kulessa, European Marketing Manager at Panasonic. “Incorporating the Intel Smart Display Module (Intel SDM) allows Panasonic to offer a sleek, slim and scalable display solution which simplifies interface integration, signage installations and platform management.”
The SQ1 series complements the EQ1 range of six entry-level, 4K professional displays, ranging from 43 to 86 inches, introduced at ISE 2018. The EQ1 series offers 4K resolution for high-impact images with 350 cd/m2 brightness, making it a cost-efficient solution for public spaces, retail venues, corporate meeting rooms and classrooms. The EQ1 series will be available in Autumn 2018. The SQ1 series is expected to be available in December 2018.
News displays and software from Philips
Philips Professional Display Solutions (Philips PDS) unveiled a compelling mix of new display products, enhanced and expanded software solutions and previews of future touchscreen models. The new LCD displays will include an expanded Q-Line series with new UHD panels in larger screen sizes and incorporating the Android OS for the first time.
The company will also unveil and demonstrate new developments for CMND, its unique range of creation and remote management software solutions.
The current Philips Q line is already a hugely popular range in the display market thanks to its combination of excellent quality and value. New for 2018 will be an extension of the range to include high-quality UHD models that also bring Android SOC into the range for the first time. The new UHD models also extend the range of sizes in the Q Line with new 50”, 55” and 65” displays to be joined by with 75” and 86” versions in the range for the first time.
In addition to the new UHD panels offering exceptional sharpness and detail, the extended Q Line adds direct LED backlight to bring better contrast, black level and brightness. The inclusion of the Android OS into the new Q Line brings more power, speed and flexibility to the range, therefore simplifying operation and installation while reducing costs.
Philips popular mid-range D -Line series will also be expanded with two new extra-large screen sizes – 86” and 98” – These new models will be the first to feature the latest version of the Android OS (7.1.2 Nougat). A new 55” High Brightness model will join the H-line range, featuring a direct LED backlight, high contrast SVA panel and an excellent light output of 2500 cd/m2 making it the perfect model for delivering content in brightly lit retail spaces. The H Line can also be updated to run the latest 7.1.2 version of Android via the addition of the optional CRD50 quad core UHD module.
All of the new LCD display products launched at Infocomm are also compatible with the company’s unique CMND content management and remote-control system. CMND eliminates the need and cost of going from site-to-site, to perform basic maintenance or reconfigure settings, update information or content by allowing Philips customers to control connected displays remotely.
New for Infocom will be the US debut of an exciting extension to the CMND software suite with the inclusion of the new CMND & Deploy feature. CMND & Deploy supports fast installation and easy deployment, allowing apps to easily and remotely be installed or updated. The overall result is an easier deployment, easier content creation, more impactful messages and new personalization, plus better interaction with the resulting sales opportunities it offers.
New Xtreme high bright displays from Peerless-AV
Peerless-AV’s newest addition to its line of performance displays, The Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays (XHB Models), offer 2500 nits of light output and full HD 1080p resolution for a bright, crisp picture and colour accuracy at viewing angles up to 178°. Featuring a fully sealed IP68-rated design and an operating temperature range of -31°F to 140°F, there is no need to change filters or service the display, creating a maintenance-free solution for year-round digital signage use. Available in 43″, 49″, 55″, and 65″, the Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Displays include IK10-rated cover glass for the ultimate screen protection.
Peerless-AV also showed their LED mounting systems which offers unlimited video wall configurations. The systems provide height and depth adjustments to overcome any installation irregularities, ensuring pixel alignment and a flat plane. In addition, a lightweight aluminium design and predetermined adaptor rail locations speed and ease installation while minimizing errors. Peerless-AV’s mounting systems also include tight tolerances and wall plate spacers, assuring all cabinets are properly positioned. The new systems are part of SEAMLESS by Peerless-AV, a one-of-a-kind all-inclusive or bespoke program for LED video wall integration.
Peerless-AV also showed the Large Venue Projector Mount (PJR250). This is designed to be installed and removed quickly, making it the ideal solution for the rental and staging market. It is built to safely support large ceiling structure venue projectors and provides tilt, roll, lateral, and swivel adjustments to obtain perfect image alignment. The mount is also equipped with dedicated adaptor plates to perfectly balance the projector’s center of gravity, making it more sturdy and safe, and preventing the likelihood of projector sag over time.
Finally, part of Peerless-AV’s range of indoor and outdoor kiosks showcase is the All-in-One Kiosk Powered by BrightSign (KIPICT555). This award-winning kiosk features a well-built, sleek design with an integrated 55″ commercial LCD display that offers six points of IR touch. The All-in-One Kiosk features full HD 1080p60 video decoding, HTML support, networked content playback, and more.
For outdoor use, Peerless-AV’s showcase will also feature the new Smart City Kiosk. An all-weather rated solution, this kiosk includes an Xtreme™ High Bright Outdoor Display with full HD 1080p resolution, easy display access, and a seamless installation. With the ability to withstand up to 150 mph winds, the Smart City Kiosk is ideal for any outdoor setting.
8K projector on show
Digital Projection announced the introduction of the brightest ever 3-Chip DLP laser phosphor projector on to the market: the Digital Projection TITAN Laser 37000. Boasting 37,000 Lumens, the TITAN’s singularity amongst 3-Chip laser projectors is further distinguished by the utilisation of the most advanced 100% sealed optical engine that uses liquid cooling, with radiators, to remove energy to the outside environment.
Also launched on the Digital Projection booth was the Digital Projection M-Vision Laser 21000, E-Vision Laser 13000 and E-Vision Laser 11000 4K-UHD. These new models complete the comprehensive single-chip projector range already available from the British manufacturer, with the added benefit of IP 60-rated sealed optics and a built-in colour boost technology along with red lasers.
Structured within Digital Projection’s 1-Chip range of DLP laser projectors, the new ColorBoost + Red Laser technology is an intelligent processing innovation said to deliver the most accurate colour reproduction, bringing performances ever closer to that of 3-Chip DLP projectors.
The use of red lasers, coupled with a specially-designed colour wheel, assure no loss of brightness and enable projectors to produce more vivid, saturated and life-like images, including skin tones, than has previously been possible. The resulting colour gamut guarantees the projector will achieve at least the REC709 standard.
Featured centre-stage on Digital Projection’s stand, the TITAN Laser 37000 is an impressively bright and powerful laser projector, ideal for the most demanding large-venue applications. Where bright, pin sharp images are required there should be no compromise and TITAN delivers from a relatively compact chassis. The class-leading 3-Chip DLP projector boasts the very latest in connectivity, including DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 and HDBaseT, and it’s is packed with features such as Constant Brightness Control and DMX Art-Net compatibility.
Digital Projection announced the arrival of the brightest ever 3-Chip DLP laser phosphor projector on to the market, the Digital Projection TITAN Laser 37000.
Networks & Connectivity
NewTek previews IP Video Signage
NewTek staged an NDI signage demonstration designed to direct any video and audio source to any monitor on a standard gigabit network. Combining the power of NewTek’s NDI Studio Monitor software with industry standard signage allows the addition of another stream as a separate overlay. Monitors and sources can be managed with a web application from any networked laptop, tablet or phone. This demonstration shows the capability to direct any AV source and any overlay to any monitor with ease and efficiency over IP while spotlighting creative possibilities and cost-saving opportunities for AV customers.
NDI is described as the leading technology for sharing video between software applications and hardware devices on standard Ethernet networks. NDI is royalty free and implemented in thousands of products and used by more than 10 million people worldwide making it the most widely adopted and used IP video standard. Recent announcements of major new NDI integrations by leading companies like Microsoft Skype further solidify this position.
NewTek partnered with Panasonic to present the preview:
“Panasonic professional displays are utilized throughout AV signage installations and we are pleased to showcase a Panasonic signage display in conjunction with NewTek Studio Monitor software accepting IP Video sources including content and overlays all on a standard Ethernet network with NewTek’s NDI,” said Delix Joseph T. Alex, product manager of Camera Systems for Panasonic. “This is a great compliment to our other NDI products including our PTZ camera lines and our AV-HLC100 production system.”
“We are excited to demonstrate with Panasonic how multiple content sources can be delivered and managed to signage displays through standard Ethernet,” says Michael Kornet, executive vice president and general manager for NDI at NewTek. “IP video is the right distribution method for AV customers and NewTek NDI is the leading video over IP technology.”
Networks & Connectivity
Biamp Adds AVB USB Expander with Bluetooth
Biamp announced its new AVB USB audio expander, the Tesira EX-UBT. Designed for use in Tesira systems, the new expander provides a reliable digital audio interface via USB. Ideal for installations requiring USB connections not located in a rack or near other equipment, the Tesira EX-UBT is not limited by the specification-defined maximum USB connection length of 15 feet; the new Tesira EX-UBT can transport USB digital audio reliably throughout a customer’s network. It is also ideal for installations requiring multiple USB audio inputs or in projects using Tesira SERVER or SERVER-IO as the DSP adding an on-board USB connection.
The Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Tesira EX-UBT expander supports up to eight channels of configurable USB audio as well as Bluetooth wireless technology, which is enabled and configured through the Tesira software. Using Bluetooth, the EX-UBT provides integrators with a cable-free solution for teleconferencing using soft codecs, continuing a mobile phone call into a meeting room, or supplying background music such as in a hospitality setting. The EX-UBT is the perfect solution for a variety of room types and sizes that require USB audio delivered in a small form factor.
Also new from Biamp is Biamp SageVue web-based monitoring and management platform for its Tesira and Devio product families. Deployed at the end user site, SageVue enables technology managers, integrators, and end users to review a system’s status and perform several administrative tasks easily and efficiently.
SageVue uses a browser-based interface to provide users with a single, comprehensive overview and status of all Tesira and Devio devices connected to the network. SageVue is also equipped with a full-featured RESTful API, giving technology managers the ability to pull information into custom dashboards or be directly integrated with third-party monitoring applications. To streamline user access and setup, SageVue intelligently interfaces with LDAP infrastructure, allowing IT managers to use existing data to control access to the software. SageVue will be available at no cost in Q3 of 2018.
Networking & connectivity
New switchers from tvONE
tvONE launched the HD-One wall plate transmitter series that enables switching and extension for HDMI (up to 4K) and VGA (up to 1080p) signals at InfoComm 2018. 4K HDR matrix switchers and the new distribution amplifier series are also being unveiled.
The HD-One wall plate transmitter series, consisting of the MG-WP-611-US and MG-WP-611-EU provides HD extension up to 230ft (70 meters) and 4K extension up to 130ft (40 meters). Available in regionally specific form factors, they are easily powered by a local power supply or the MG-CT-612 Receiver (coming soon) with integrated Power over HDBaseT (POH). Additionally, the HD-One wall plate delivers full uncompressed HD video 3D and 4Kx2K, RS-232 and IR while supporting VESA resolutions up to 1920×1200@60Hz and HDTV resolutions up to 1080p.
Also new at InfoComm will be the MX-65xx Series of matrices, designed to allow the distribution of HDMI 2.0 (with HDCP) sources to multiple display devices independently or all at the same time using an intuitive front panel, infrared remote control or tvONE’s control software, MX-tools. It is HDCP 2.2 compliant and provides full support for 4K2K@60 4:4:4 8bit and 10bit processing for superior deep colour rendition. 3D signals are also supported. Audio includes 7.1 audio capability including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.
The 1T-DA-68x Distribution Amplifier series, which includes 1T-DA-682 (1×2 HDMI v2.0 DA), 1T-DA-684 (1×4 HDMI v2.0 DA), and 1T-DA-688 (1×8 HDMI v2.0 DA) will additionally feature on the stand. This Distribution Amplifier series provides a high-performance solution for distributing HDMI signals with video output up to 4K2K@60Hz (YUV444) resolutions and HDR (High Dynamic Range Imaging) support, which gives the most lifelike video experience.
A range of new features and modules for the C3-340 CORIO®matrix (4RU) and C3-310 CORIO®matrix mini (1RU) will also be showcased. They are designed for installs needing to easily integrate mixed AV sources such as SDI, IP streams (coming soon), 4K HDMI and legacy formats in a single device at very low latency. Exhibiting too will be a new HDMI 4-port output module for CORIOmaster, providing the 4RU C3-540 CORIOmaster video wall processor with up to 56 outputs. tvONE’s popular CORIOview, the fastest, most intuitive 4K multi-window processor with up to 8 sources will also be featured.
Networks & Connectivity
XiO Cloud provisioning and management from Crestron
Crestron’s XiO Cloud, a Cloud-based provisioning and management solution, made its debut at InfoComm 2018. XiO Cloud enables organisations to simultaneously configure and deploy an unlimited number of Crestron products, thereby reducing installation time by up to 90%. IT managers can then monitor and manage all devices from XiO Cloud, proactively resolve events remotely to prevent lost work time, and gather actionable usage data, all with no programming required.
“With XiO Cloud, you simply connect a device to the network and it’s automatically recognised,” said Brian Donlan, Crestron Technology Manager, Enterprise Software. “There’s no time-consuming programming, and Crestron devices around the world can be managed remotely. The device doesn’t even need to be online when it’s configured. It’s simple, worldwide, browser-based management with the network security IT professionals demand.”
With live status and full monitoring of thousands of connected devices, from anywhere at any time, the help desk can quickly know about any change on a device within seconds, and then resolve events remotely to maximise uptime. No extra configuration tools are required.
Also new from Crestron, Crestron AirBoard is an enterprise-grade whiteboard capture device that enables both local and remote participants to see whiteboard content on the main room display and on their personal display device, and then share it with the touch of a button. Crestron AirBoard is simple to operate and easily mounts above any surface using the included mounting kit.
“The whiteboard is the last analogue device in the room, and with so much competition for ‘front of the room’ space, they’re typically installed on the extreme sides of meeting rooms, where visibility is limited,” explains Dan Jackson, Director, Enterprise Technology at Crestron. “Now, with Crestron AirBoard, the centre room display, or projector screen, can show the whiteboard so everyone can easily see it. Plus, remote participants can actually see when someone writes on the whiteboard without holding up a phone or laptop camera.”
Crestron AirBoard is essentially a camera on an arm that attaches to any electronic whiteboard via the included mounting kit. Only a single Ethernet cable to the LAN is required for video, power, and secure connection to the network and Crestron ecosystem. People can quickly capture and share content via Crestron touch screens and integrated devices, such as Crestron Mercury.
With Crestron AirBoard, annotations can be easily captured, saved, and then posted, emailed, or texted to either a central web page (education applications) or to invited participants (corporate applications). Meeting participants simply choose “whiteboard” as a source on the in-room Crestron TSW touch screen or on the built-in touchscreen on Crestron Mercury® to start the session. When “end meeting” is selected, the user is prompted to save and send the file.
Remote conferencing participants can access the whiteboard session much like they would connect to Crestron AirMedia wireless presentation devices by entering the URL (or friendly name) shown on the room display in their web browser. Once on the web page, the user simply enters the dynamic PIN or access code, which is also shown on the room display.
Crestron made so many announcements at InfoComm that we could have easily filled this article with Crestron news alone. In brief, other announcements included: a new partnership with Huddly to enhance the Crestron Mercury UC experience; a new Crestron AirMedia wireless presentation system with AirMedia 2.0 technology; next generation AM-300 and AM-200 products which enable organisations to increase workflow and facilitate collaboration by turning lobbies, lounges, and other open spaces into productive meeting spaces. Finally, Crestron debuted its new TSS-7 and TSS-10 room scheduling-only touch screens, featuring native partner room booking and an optional Room Availability Light Bar.
Audio & Conferencing
Yamaha – YVC-200 for On-the-Go Conferencing
Yamaha announced the debut of its YVC-200 portable USB + Bluetooth speakerphone designed to provide users with ample, clear sound no matter where they work.
“The reality of today’s global workplace is that people are meeting and collaborating outside of dedicated conferencing spaces, which can create a challenging and increasingly frustrating meeting environment,” said Phil Marechal, vice president of business development and product management, Yamaha Unified Communications.
“The YVC-200 expands our UC portfolio with a personal, portable conferencing device designed to offer intuitive operation and deliver high-quality, comfortable audio no matter where the user is working, be it the home, satellite office, or hotel room. It can be deployed anywhere. Just simply connect it to a smartphone, tablet, or PC, and hold a productive casual meeting, discuss ideas, and feel as if you’re talking with colleagues in person.”
The compact device fits in the palm of the user’s hand and is integrated with Yamaha’s leading sound processing technologies, including adaptive echo cancellation, Human Voice Activity Detection that focuses the unit on speech rather than background noise. The unit features intelligent microphones that deliver full-duplex conversation without sound dropouts, even when multiple people are speaking at once. In addition, powerful built-in speakers deliver audio that sounds true to life, so it feels as if every remote participant on the call is in the room. With the YVC-200, users can easily hear what’s being said and be heard, enabling highly productive team collaboration from anywhere.