Technology Shines at InfoComm 2014

And the Best of Show Awards go to...
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InfoComm 2014, held in Las Vegas in mid-June, was a short but intense event. The exhibition featured hundreds of companies familiar to anyone in the video industry, although in an interestingly different mix than you see at a video-only show such as the NAB.

Two of the biggest exhibitors at InfoComm 2014 were Crestron and AMX, which have traditionally manufactured control systems and switching products for audiovisual systems. Judging by the size of their booths and consistently heavy crowds, both Crestron and AMX are quite relevant to InfoComm attendees.

Many traditional audio and video manufacturers were at InfoComm 2014, usually with the product mix tweaked for the audiovisual nature of the show. Therefore, audio manufacturers tended to highlight amplifiers over mixers and built-in conference table microphones over stage performance products. Video manufacturers such as Sony, JVC, Canon, Blackmagic Design and Panasonic leaned in the direction of large-screen displays and projectors, although there were certainly video acquisition, switching and monitoring products on view.

Large and artistic installations of projectors and flat-panel displays were popular and often drew aisle-clogging crowds, especially at the Christie Digital, LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Barco booths. Another popular product category at InfoComm 2014 was furniture, particularly podiums and conferencing tables.

Of course, Government Video handed out our Best of Show Awards for excellence at InfoComm 2014, seven awards that represent interesting and innovative products that we think demonstrate where the audiovisual field will be headed in the near future. Let’s take a look at these products and salute their engineering, innovation and implementation.

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Montse Romero, Albiral Display Products

ALBIRAL DISPLAY PRODUCTS

The Arthur Holm Dynamic 3 with Dynamic Talk is a mouthful, but the product had me standing with a slack jaw when I saw it demonstrated. It is a silky-smooth motorized video display and integrated microphone system that hypnotically raises from a conference table and slides into viewing/speaking position―words don’t do the sensuousness of its operation justice, but suffice it to say that some people will push the “raise/lower” button just to watch it work.

The unit is beautifully built with high-quality components, and it will be the monitoring system of choice in high-end conference rooms. The Arthur Holm Dynamic 3 with Dynamic Talk comes in a version without the motorized microphone if you need only the display, but either way it is a slick and fascinating product.

CRESTRON

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David Silberstein, Crestron

Crestron has been building increasingly sophisticated audiovisual control systems for years, culminating in its DMPS product line and the DMPS3-150-C. The unit, designed for smaller conference rooms, can switch up to 10 4K sources to a projector or monitor, as well as control practically any item in the room. Set up is as easy as answering a few simple questions on a touch screen, and the unit consumes just a single rack space.

The DMPS3-150-C works out of the box with the Crestron Connect It tabletop interface and is compatible with the company’s DigtialMedia standard. With multiple HDMI, VGA and analog display inputs, as well as professional audio capability and HDBaseT compatibility, the DMPS3-150-C is the modern way to run a small meeting space.

DRAPER

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Steve Cook, Draper

Projection screens can be an afterthought to many people, but not to the staff at Draper. Every projection facility has its own unique requirements for viewing, so Draper’s TecVision projection screen technology lets you pick the imaging material that works in your specific space. If you need a wider viewing angle but have some ambient light, there’s a TekVision version for that.

Using the right projector and the optimum version of TekVision for your projection screen is the recipe for getting big images that pop. TekVision doesn’t give you license to be sloppy with your room design, but it can help you overcome a challenging projection environment.

IHSE USA

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Manny Patel, IHSE USA

The IHSE USA Series 482 KVM dual-link extender gives you higher-than HD resolution if you need it, or standard HD resolution for two screens simultaneously. At the same time, the system has four USB ports for connection of peripherals besides a keyboard and mouse.

The 482 series uses the company’s compression technology to deliver full-motion computer video images for one 2,560 x 2,048-pixel image at a 60 Hz frame rate or two 1,920 x 1,200-pixel images at 60 Hz frame rates. The system can extend signals up to about 450 feet using Cat-5e cable and up to 10 km using fiber. In addition, it works with IHSE USA’s switching products to integrate into a KVM switching and distribution system.

KRAMER

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Clint Hoffman, Kramer

VIA Collage from Kramer is a collaboration system that lets you connect wirelessly and make it easy to engage everyone in the room. It provides a common platform for laptops, smartphones and tablets in real time, connecting automatically and allowing everyone to work on the same digital canvas.

VIA Collage works seamlessly in an almost spooky way. Everyone in the room can help create and edit a common document through their individual devices, then share it with others and save it to take with you. The system automatically recognizes attendees and makes connection―and collaboration―easy.

RGB SPECTRUM

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John Henkel, RGB Spectrum

Supporting resolutions up to 4k (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), the Galileo display processor from RGB Systems uses PC-based technology to keep the cost down and the processing power up. The system includes IP inputs and the ability to run applications natively, and it supports a wide range of input and output types such as IP, analog, DVI/HDMI and 3G/HD-SDI. The video wall processor can also deliver HDCP protected content to up to 56 displays.

Setting up a Galileo display is convenient, using a drag-and-drop process to organize images. In addition, the RGB Spectrum Galileo has integrated KVM capabilities to provide operators with low-latency control over remote systems using a LAN or WAN.

VADDIO

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Rob Sheeley, Vaddio

AV Bridge Matrix Pro is a group conferencing system that combines the functionality of the AV Bridge encoder with IP and USB streaming, a four-input seamless HD video presentation switcher, and an 8 x 4 audio switcher with integrated audio echo cancellation. The system also includes a web server for configuration programming, control and remote management.

All that fits into a two rack-unit chassis, and it includes standard interfaces such as HDMI, VGA and balanced audio, as well as Vaddio’s EZCamera connections on RJ-45 jacks for connecting seamlessly to the company’s pan/tilt/zoom cameras.

The AV Bridge Matrix Pro provides USB and IP streaming, so no external encoder is needed for conferencing or streaming presentations. In addition to its extensive audio features, the unit can do visual overlays, transitions and picture-in-picture, as well as control camera signal levels.

Several other companies had products that were just edged out of Government Video’s Best of Show Awards. These products included the Kramer K-Touch control system, Video Furniture International’s Electric Lift collaboration and video table, VDO360’s The Compass pan/tilt/camera, Soundsphere’s 110 paging loudspeaker, Crestron’s DigitalMedia product line (although the specific Crestron DMPS3-150-C is an award pick), Draper’s Profile projection screen and Vaddio’s RoboShot camera. All these products had many fine qualities and were considered carefully, but not every product can get the Best of Show Award.

There was a lot to see and consider at InfoComm 2014. If you were not there this year, perhaps you will have a chance to go next year when the show will be in Orlando, Fla. If your area of expertise includes visual presentation products as well as video, a trip to the InfoComm show is definitely worthwhile.

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