E4 AV Tour Educates Integrators, End Users

Hands-on experience with latest products
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John Tucker (L) of Planar explains the company’s 84-inch UltraRes Touch display to Raymond Lecuyer of Network Spectrum.

There’s a lot written about big shows, such as the NAB, InfoComm and even our own Government Video Expo (discussed elsewhere in this issue). However, there are also good smaller shows that might be available right in your home town or just a short drive away.

One example is the E4 AV Tour, which is run by Almo, a vendor of audiovisual, multimedia and television products. On Oct. 17, the E4 AV Tour rolled into Bethesda, Md., with an exhibit hall, three training rooms and a separate room to compare video projectors.

E4 stands for “Educate Explore Exchange Expo,” and the event is targeted at end users as well as AV professionals who install, specify and/or purchase technology. The E4 show travels the country, with earlier shows in 2014 being held in Dallas, Orlando, Fla., and Boston. There will be an E4 AV Tour event in Chicago in April 2015, with other shows in New York and Los Angeles.

“It’s a good opportunity to see the latest products,” said Sam Taylor, executive vice president and COO of Almo. “The courses here give insight into the future of audiovisual.”

Reaching out to integrators, consultants and end users, the E4 AV Tour lets manufacturers provide instruction about the best way to specify and integrate their products. From the user perspective, it’s a good chance to see and touch technology of interest, without having to get approval to travel to a distant city for a big show. As an added bonus, there’s a free lunch.

To get a free pass to the E4 AV Tour, you need to be invited by one of the exhibitors. At the Bethesda show in October, some of the exhibitors were AMX, Aten, Barco, BrightSign, Canon, Chief, Da-Lite, Epson, Hitachi, JBL, LG, Listen Technologies, NEC, Panasonic, Planar, Premier Mounts, Samsung, Sharp, Soundcraft, Tascam and Tripp-Lite.

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Attendees at the E4 AV Tour learn about products at the recent event in Bethesda, Md.

Once the keynote presentation ended at 10:15 a.m., the expo floor quickly filled up with attendees. Exhibitors demonstrated products, explaining features and installation techniques. In the sessions, companies covered likely installation scenarios and the proper operation of their products.

“Listen Technology provided assisted listening products in its class,” said Melody Craigmyle, vice president of marketing for Almo. “They’re teaching about ADA compliance.”

Craigmyle pointed out that attendees receive renewal units for CTS certification by documenting their attendance at E4 AV Tour sessions.

At the booths in the expo hall, attendees got one-on-one attention and demonstrations that are hard to come by at a larger show. It was easy to walk right up to a table, pick up an item, use it and get a clear demonstration of its abilities.

Panasonic had a couple of video switchers, two professional video camcorders and the PT-RZ670 laser light source DLP projector. In particular, this projector has such novel technology that a steady stream of attendees wanted to see and touch it, and learn more about its characteristics.

Across the hall at the Planar booth, John Tucker was giving a presentation on the company’s 84-inch UltraRes Touch display, which is one of the few 4K touch displays available.

Almo, based in Philadelphia, sees the education at the E4 AV Tour as critical to making sure that its customers know how to use the products and integrators know how to properly install them. As for the overall reception to the E4 event, Taylor said that it was a huge success.

“It was packed,” he said.