Archive | June, 2014

InfoComm 2014 Recap

ic14If you weren’t one of the nearly 40,000 people who attended InfoComm 2014 then you missed out on fantastic technology, amazing people and not too terrible weather.  This year, for the first time since I’ve been going, there didn’t seem to be a prevailing new technology, unless you consider a handful of dynamic collaboration products to be a prevailing technology.

After the years of digital switching, convergence and 4K, this year’s show seemed to offer an improvement to a lot products that were released in previous years, as well and more solutions for similar applications coming to the table. I’ll take you through the highlights of what I liked at InfoComm 2014

As you might have recalled, I wrote about setting out in search for a practical AV solution, not overly worrying myself with seeing all the “latest and greatest” technology that is available, as most of it is outside the scope of my applications anyways. I took a few days to look at specific product categories both from the big booths as well as the small booths before ultimately concluding this year it was all about evolution, not revolution. So without committing to any specific products here are a few things that were big winners for InfoComm 2014:

Collaboration

Collaborative products were everywhere. In corporate settings it enhances productivity, in education applications it enables paradigm shifting “flipped classrooms.” Collaboration products are ideal for large and small rooms alike. Whether it’s wired pods where users can choose to show their content, or wireless display software or hardware designed to allows for full BYOD connectivity without the wires and the hassle in huddle rooms and small meeting spaces, the ability to quickly share content from devices other than installed computers was a big hit this year even allowing them to dynamically arrange, access and edit content.

Soft Codec Integration

With more and more customers adopting Microsoft Lync, and organizations still not able to fully stamp out consumer communication platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, OoVoO and the like the importance for high quality products to interface with these platforms has reached a boiling point. For a while there was one company that was ahead of the curve, Vaddio, offering USB PTZ cameras, and the AV bridge to work with computer based applications. This year, however, there were many companies that offered soft codec integrative capabilities. From full room systems designed to work with Lync, to affordable PTZ cameras that plug in via USB.

Laser Projectors

I’m not a huge fan of heights. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out in a car on a bridge, or become terrified when staying in a top-floor hotel, but the idea of being in a lift, or on a tall ladder causes me to cringe. I was really excited about lampless projectors last year, like really excited. Unfortunately I was let down by units that weren’t bright, had terrible contrast ratio and appalling color depth. I understand there were limitations of the strength of the laser that could be used, but it was so disappointing.  This year, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty, depth and richness of the images coming from lampless projectors, ranging from small, low-lumen projection systems to 12,000 ANSI Lumens, 4K, laser projectors. The inner acrophobia suffering part of me is thankful the days where I must climb a tall ladder, or get on a shaky lift for routine, frequent, maintenance is coming to a end.

Hopefully you got a high-level overview of what InfoComm 2014 was all about. Obviously I could write significantly more at lenght about specific products and applications that I thought were absolutely perfect and others that weren’t. If you’re interested in more, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to chat with you about it.

 

Continue Reading
Technology

Tags: , ,

InfoComm Pre-Show Roundup: #InfoComm14 #AvSelfie song, my preview and more

InfoCommInfoComm is literally around the corner, as in less than a handful of days away, now. This time tomorrow, I’ll be in an airplane headed to the desert for a few days of relaxation before the frantic trade show. So I thought I’d make a list of what I’m most interested in seeing, from a practical, ready-to-implement standpoint, this is a shortened list and you can read my full InfoComm Preview on New Bay Media’s AV Network.

Full BYOD support: Looking for simple, easy to use switching and videoconferencing for smaller conference rooms. I think Vaddio’s Groupstation could be a real winner here.

Microsoft Lync compatibility: Looking to see more options and better quality lync integration- Crestron RL, PolyComm’s CX8000 to name a few.

Big data: Looking for the evolution of data-rich remote management systems- what will the next versions of Extron, Crestron and AMX’s remote systems offer?

Micro speakers: Looking at line array micro speakers, premium sound with a near invisible footprint.

Lampless projectors: Looking to see higher-lumen, better quality from lampless projector manufacturers.

If you’re going to InfoComm, I’d love to hear what you’re looking for this year. Also, be sure to attend the AVNation/RedbandAV tweetup to meet fellow AVTweeps, I’ll be there. If you’d like to get together outside of the tweetup, I have some free time and would love to chat, feel free to contact me.

Also, I’ll be posting daily, sometimes multiple posts a day, at AVNetwork; be sure to stay up-to-date with AVNation daily podcasts which you can find on AVNation.TV. One big thing to keep your eye on will be the AvNation/Redband exclusive Net Neutrality panel featuring panelists from LifeSize, Avaya and Blue Jeans Network, you can find more information here.

And finally, one thing that will be taking the show by storm is the #AVSelfie, if you’re wondering what is is or why its a big deal, you should probably read all about it here. In that vein, Phillip “HiPhi” Cordell, of TheAVProfessional.com did what he does best, and recorded the AV Selfie Song, which you can play below. The original can be found here.

image courtesy of blog.infocommblog.org

Continue Reading
Technology

Tags: , , , ,

Barco ClickShare: One click to rule them all?

barco clickshareWith InfoComm rapidly approaching, here in just a few days, I’ve finally gotten my hands on the third and final wireless display unit I wanted to test from last year’s InfoComm, the Barco ClickShare. The other two units I’ve taken a look at already are Crestron’s AirMedia and Christie’s Brio. I still believe we’re in the genesis of wireless display, and I look forward to these units evolving over time, like all technology does. I must admit, I really liked the Barco ClickShare units I tested, the CSM-1, the small, and the CSC-1 the large; both functioned well and with two different sizes each with different levels of functionality, the Barco ClickShare seems like it could be a real solid platform. Here’s some more details:

Couldn’t Get Enough:

  • Frame rate: One problem I’ve had with other wireless display units is choppiness, or lag, in display. The Barco ClickShare flawlessly played a youtube video from my laptop, something that other wireless display units had significant trouble doing. There was no choppiness, or lag, and the audio synced with the video flawlessly, separating this device from its competition, as a true all-in-one solution for a smaller conference room or meeting space.
  • Admin console- The device administration interface was easy to navigate and feature rich, allowing the administrator to not only change the Barco ClickShare splash screen appearance and device settings such as IP address, but also see which Buttons are connected, and which Buttons need to be re-paired with the base station; as well as upload new firmware and sift through logs for troubleshooting purposes.
  • Mirroring lag- The Barco ClickShare mirrors the connected device’s desktop for mac and windows machines. The lag is negligible, to the point where I had no difficulty performing software training using the device, and real time document editing with a room full of people.
  • Physical Size- The Barco ClickShare comes in two models, each with different features and available functionalities. A comparison between the two models can be found here . The smaller unit, the CSM-1 is an ideal size for small huddle rooms and medium-sized conference rooms, where a full rack might not be available. The unit is small enough to fit behind a display, and in my testing I affixed it to the back of my flat panel monitor.  The larger unit, is a bit bulkier, standing over 1 RU in height, and not a full width. Although it could easily be set up on top of a credenza or other AV furniture in a conference room.
  • Connectivity- The Barco ClickShare connection is made between the Button and the BaseUnit, meaning it transmits separate of the network. This is ideal for organizations with strictly guarded networks, or where interfacing with the network team can be difficult. The connection between the Button and the Base Unit in the Barco ClicksShare uses AES encryption for the content and standard WPA2-PSK authentication for when connecting to the SSID given by the Base Unit for mobile connections. 

It Was Alright:

  • Mobile- The Barco ClickShare allows iOS and Android devices to connect and wireless display certain types of content utilizing free apps from the App store and Google Play store respectively. One must first download files into the ClickShare app, then connect their device to the ClickShare SSID, once done they can display their content to the screen wirelessly. The Barco ClickShare mobile app also allows the presenter to whiteboard, or annotate on top of documents and photos.  The CSC-1 offers the ability to fully mirror iOS devices with the purchase of an additional piece of hardware, the ClickShare Link.
  • Easy to use- Thought it isn’t a purely wireless solution, since the Barco ClickShare requires a USB Button, the system is very easy to operate. Users connect the USB Button to their computer, and open the corresponding application (Mac or Windows), and then they can press the Button to wirelessly transmit their content to the display. Users do not need administrative privileges on their machine to operate this software, and there’s nothing to download, per se, allowing full BYOD support without worrying about users’ roles and permissions on their computers.
  • Collaboration- The CSC-1 allows multiple devices to simultaneously display on the screen and offers dual screen support, allowing users to collaborate in real time with up to four presenters simultaneously displaying content. The CSM-1 allows only a single device to display, and does not offer dual screen support.

Didn’t Like it at All

  • Native iOS mirroring- unfortunately, this unit doesn’t offer iOS mirroring out of the box, additional hardware is required. While it supports a variety of file types and integrates with drop box to allow you access your files, the one request I have from the majority of my clients is for wireless iPad mirroring. Allowing presenters to use third party apps and mirror the screen would be a real benefit for this hardware, though I understand the limitation is often on the mobile operating system.

All in all I loved the Barco ClickShare, at approximately $1750, the CSM-1 is ideal for small conference and/or huddle room spaces, offering full capabilities for displaying documents from mobile, and full mirroring without lag from notebooks. The CSC-1 expands the CSM-1’s functionality, allowing four users to simultaneously display content, and offering simultaneous audio and video synchronization, and at $3950 doesn’t necessarily price itself out of the market, even for smaller institutions like mine.

Continue Reading
Technology

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: