The Clarient Group

My Five Biggest Take-Aways from InfoComm16

by Ken Abel, Senior AV Engineer, The Clarient Group.  

InfoComm16

Source - InfoComm International

We all know that the world of audiovisual consulting and design is constantly moving forward at an ever increasing rate. The yearly pilgrimage to InfoComm is just one way we have of trying to keep up with it all. Here at TCG we like to believe that we offer our clients every potential technology and solution that will effectively help them reach their communications and collaboration goals. To that end, my staff and I not only enjoy the chance to share in the educational programs and networking opportunities, we also truly value the chance for hands-on experience with the newest technologies and devices on the market. In that respect, InfoComm16 didn’t disappoint. With over 1,000 exhibitors, thousands of products, 100+ educational offerings, and over 40,000 attendees, we had our hands full! Here are just a few highlights from my days in Vegas this year.

1 - In the world of large format displays, it appears that the days of the technology driving the industry are coming to an end for now. High resolution, reliable and cost effective systems are now ubiquitous and come in every size, shape, and configuration. The emphasis is now on the creation of content, the audience experience and how the technology can be used to create a seamless synergy.

2 - In the past six to eight years, the concept of convergence has been the cornerstone of many manufacturers’ product development. It became one of the industry’s strongest buzz words. This year it appears that there has been a shift to the concept of collaboration. Where convergence is more of a technical means to an end, collaboration has become that end. It seemed every manufacturer was talking about how their devices either enabled or enhanced workplace collaboration.

3 - Virtual Reality, long a staple in the gaming industry, appears to be trying to nudge its way into the AV world. There were several companies that presented real-time VR systems that could easily be adapted to training situations for many industries. As quoted from AVworld, “think about the idea of an AR presence greeting you at your new job and guiding you around the office and surrounding area. (Link) Considering this technology is just emerging, the cost is significant, but it appears to have some real merit beyond killing zombies and chasing Pokemon.

4 - On the Audio front, several companies introduced “Beam Forming Microphone Arrays”. These arrays are ceiling mounted and are designed to not only reject room noise but also literally track up to 8 participants as they move about the room. I have never been a fan of ceiling microphones for reasons too numerous to mention here. In my opinion, this technology requires further controlled testing before we know if this new product category offers any true advantages.

5 - In the control system world, there is a transition, led by Crestron, to provide scalable systems components that are truly plug and play. They are trying to put an end to endless system configuration and reconfiguration by technicians as systems grow and change.

6 -Coolest new products:

  • AMX Modero X Tabletop Touch Panel that actually retracts into the table when not in use
  • Transparent Displays. Both Planar and LG showed 55-inch displays that were literally clear plexiglass windows on which video appeared .
  • Presenter tracking software that allows a moving presenter to be tracked by system cameras without a tracking device attached to the person. This concept has been around for a while. This year it finally seems to work well.

While you might be tempted to enhance your project with any of these latest and greatest “gadgets” and trends, we suggest that you first consult with your AV design professional. He or she can analyze your needs, look at your business operations and environments, and work within your budget to identify which items best serve your needs – both on Day One and for the life of your project. Your AV consultant can also look at your needs holistically, so the entire design solutions are greater that the compilation of the individual components. As we like to say at The Clarient Group , technology is just an enabler for your other business goals – be it controlling operating costs, controlling capital costs, generating revenues and providing a superior end-user experience.

###

For further information, please contact
Michael McCann, FSMPS, CPSM
Business Development and Marketing Manager
The Clarient Group, LLC
630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1012
New York, NY 10036
mmccann@theclarientgroup.com