InfoComm 2013 took place at the Orange County convention Centre, in sunny Orlando, Florida, USA – the Home of Disney. It was a record year with 35,126 attendees; an increase of 2.5 percent from the 2012 event.
InfoComm is so much more than an exhibition area for new technology trends: it's a platform for professionals to meet up, discuss industry experiences and stories, debate solutions, and learn from one another. I am always amazed by how friendly and professional the exhibitors at these shows are.
The main exhibition took place from the 12 to 14 June; however my visit started a day earlier at the Crestron Sales Conference. This was held at the Orange County Convention Centre and the opening was hosted by Crestron Founder and President, George Feldstein. The opening was short and captivating, one cannot help but be inspired by the passion Mr. Feldstein has for this industry and his company. This was followed by an equally inspiring speech by Randy Klein, Executive Vice President at Crestron Electronics.
After a short coffee break we sat down to an insightful product overview and a sneak peak of products that will be showcased at the Crestron stand, this was presented by Dave Silberstein Director of Channel Development. The following products were showcased,
Crestron's new GLB Dali ballasts
Saros Premium ceiling speakers
Saros Pendant speakers
Aspire Dual 8" Subwoofer
HD-XSP Surround processor
Connect it media point
3 series Family of processors
New inFiNET EX products
TSW730 Roomview panel
DMCO-7x Streaming output card
AMP 100 Wireless presentation device
Crestron RL " Microsoft lync"
This was followed by a booth tour. This tour is given to all Crestron employees and distributors. At each point we were given specific new product information to relay to our dealers.
Over the next three days, my colleague Bruce Genricks and I made our way through the exhibition hall of over 50,000 square feet of exhibits, and more than 925 companies exhibiting. Needless to say, it's almost impossible to go through every booth, but we sure did try.
It was great to meet up with John Ungerer, a former employee of Electrosonic SA who is currently based in Brisbane where he is heading up Kramer Australia. He gave me a private tour of the Kramer stand before the show started and I was amazed by the size and look of the stand. We spent an enjoyable evening together in downtown Orlando chatting about the industry and about the good old days.
Crestron's legendary InfoComm parties lived up to expectation, with the amazing Penn & Teller magic show hosted by Jay Johnson. Crestron ticked all the boxes, great food, drink, people and the best entertainment!
In conclusion: InfoComm 2013 was a huge success, with record numbers of attendees and may fantastic exhibits. Crestron products were recognized with 8 industry awards by the leading trade publications, dealer channels, integrators and consultants. We look forward to seeing you at InfoComm 2014 Vegas!
Eugene Coetzee - AV Systems Manager- is proud to announce that Electrosonic SA has revamped its Systems Division's demo facilities. "We invite you to visit us so that we can show off some of our latest products and concepts in the demo room". These products include the Kramer wall where a variety of solutions are demonstrated: wall plate control systems, scalers, switchers, Digital signage, Flip top and wall plate connectivity options, and video extenders. According to Eugene these are just a fraction of the multitude of Kramer products on offer.
"We are the biggest distributor of Elite screens in the world, so come and view our range of screens. We have everything from fixed frame to a range of motorized screens options to suit your application.
Also on display is the NEC video wall & Galaxy video wall processor. Electrosonic SA offers turnkey product solutions that incorporate the vast range of products on offer.
"By the way, our service include design and free expert advice, and while you are visiting our new concept demo room, allow us to demonstrate our coffee machine's capabilities. We'll make you a cup of coffee that's as great as our products on display!"
One thing that cannot be taken away from the audiovisual industry is our flashy side. When we show off, we really show off. And at Mediatech 2013 we remained true to our reputation.
It was as if all the exhibitors secretly decided to go extra 'Wow' this year. A friend of mine paid a visit to see 'what it is we really do'. As she stared in awe at the smoke-filled Coca Cola Dome, ablaze with light beams, laser lights and LED displays, she gasped: "Wow, this is not the type of expo I am used to". That's exactly how it was - it was WOW! The general sense of this year's expo was a markedly bigger presence by the staging & events industry, as well as by the display industry. It was not overpowered by broadcasting folk who seemed to monopolize the attention in previous years. It felt more balanced and all round, every participant played an important role in the overall extravaganza.
The team at Electrosonic SA didn't stand back either and put on its boxing gloves for this bout. The Entertainment Lighting and AV Systems divisions teamed up and the planning started as early as February. Everything was done properly with 3D stand designs and many custom ideas for the big 3 show days in July. The joint effort won Electrosonic SA a Silver Mediatech Stand Award.
Across our stand we accentuated a collection of technologies pertaining to various sectors of the audio-visual industry. Our Lighting division, headed by Bruce Schwartz, filled their section of the stand – as well as every single empty spot other than their own – with the latest lighting innovations, and showed why they are so respected in the industry.
"At Mediatech 2013 we decided to showcase Electrosonic SA as a whole: not as separate lighting and systems divisions. Our stand combined all these aspects as there is a cross-pollination of our products with our clients. So from that point alone we regard Mediatech 2013 as a particularly successful event. We decided to set up a separate area to showcase Martin Professional's Viper range of fixtures in a dedicated space designed to bring out the best in the fixtures optics. We were also privileged to have both Tom Etra from Green Hippo (UK) and Andre Bragard-De Naeyer from ADB (Belgium) on the stand. Because we represent them, Green Hippo also allowed us to set up a captivating 3D Mapping demonstration in the Green Hippo breakaway room. This was definitely a stand-out feature of Mediatech 2013. The quality of Mediatech 2013 was world class and completely on par with European shows like PLASA and Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt. I am sure visitors to the Expo left with lots of valuable information", said Bruce.
Opposite the Lighting desks, our AV Systems division, made their mark with Kramer Electronics and Sierra Video products filling an entire 6 metre demonstration area. Jason Johnstone, the Kramer Product Manager had this to say about the show: "Mediatech is always a great way to network with dealers and showcase some of the latest Kramer products. I think one of the biggest benefits is making cross-border contact into Southern Africa. This year we were able to showcase Kramer Electronics' wireless HDMI products which have been in demand lately. We also had our popular SID family on show; a product which won and award for Kramer at InfoComm. In addition to that, Kramer Electronics increased their HDBaseT range of products, as many screen / projector manufacturers are now adding HDBaseT as a standard on their equipment. Sierra Video, a sister company of Kramer Electronics also had space on our shelves; their products included Multiviewers and routers which are aimed at the broadcast market".
On the display side of things, we demonstrated both our Galaxy Video Wall processors and numerous NEC displays. The baby Galaxy - the X4 - created a very attractive image, spread over a 'smarty box' of displays. The X4 allows users to scale, move and rotate separate quadrants of an image across four individual displays to create a sexy video wall. We utilized 2 x NEC X461S', a 29" dual desktop monitor and a 23" NEC display, in concert to form a very eye-catching display feature, aimed at retail environments. The Galaxy Pro lived up to its name and delivered leading functionality with input and signal management as well as scaling to present a multi-window configuration across four narrow bezel NEC X463UN 46" video wall displays, which in turn had many mouths watering with the crisp Full HD images and high contrast delivered by a full array backlit LED light source. Both products offer 24/7 warranties and built-in redundancy to create an ideal solution for mission critical control rooms and public display requirements. An added Crestron touch panel and processor created a graphic dashboard for the user to orchestrate the required demands.
As far as projectors are concerned, we demonstrated NEC's Full HD PA500U with 5000 ANSI lumens, the PX750U, with its beastlike 7500 ANSI lumens and a smaller UM280Wi ultra-short throw projector with the eBeam add-on to turn any surface into an interactive display, which sparked much interest from representatives from schools and universities.
As we all know, no projector can fully deliver a quality image without a projection screen at the other end, and Elite Screens, one of the quality products in our arsenal, does just that. Elite Screens accommodate various screen requirements, with a pricing structure to cater for all. The Elite Product Manager, Joel Davies and Linda Swart (Sales & Support) handled the division's area on the stand. "The Elite Screens portion of the Electrosonic SA stand was well attended from far and wide by all sectors of the Mediatech visitor spectrum: Broadcasters, Entertainment & Events companies, and Educational facilities. With our new clients on board, Elite Screens will soon be conquering the wider African markets though visibility and availability. Of the items on display were the line of staging screens, which enjoyed the most attention as well as the various material options across the range of fixed frame and motorised screens," said Linda.
The rest of the expo floor was covered with demos from many old friends, as well as the odd foe, as competitive industries must have. Mediatech 2013 had much to offer the thousands of industry focused visitors, many of who had travelled across the globe to participate. One of the highlights was 'The Museum', where one could view audiovisual equipment from many moons ago, without which we would not have been where we are today.
Mediatech 2013 was an overall success and the Electrosonic SA team is very happy with its efforts, and the orders which started rolling in very soon afterwards. Eugene Coetzee, one of the captains of our ship, gave his opinion, "Electrosonic SA's booth at Mediatech 2013 was more than double the size of our booth in 2011. This gave us the opportunity to show off more products and solutions than before. One of the very important design goals of our booth was that it should be easy for visitors to flow through our booth, and we achieved this. Our booth was divided into 3 parts, with an aisle in the middle so we had visitor access from three aisles! I think this really worked well. Our booth was well attended by both existing and prospective clients. It was also a great opportunity to see so many of our clients and integrators in the space of three days. Something that stood out for me in particular when looking at the show as a whole was that exhibitors put in a great effort with the design of their booths. It was on international standard!"
Electrosonic SA would like to use this opportunity to thank each and every one of our stakeholders who contributed and visited our stand. We thank you for your input that resulted in our success, as well as to congratulate the organisers for an event that was well put together. We cannot wait for 2015.
From a Crestron point of view:
Crestron in South Africa, a subsidiary of Electrosonic SA, also attended Mediatech and Derek Marsden shared his experience: "After a long hiatus, Crestron's participation at Mediatech was a huge success. Amongst the show's highlights was the showcasing of the latest 3 Series processing engine along with the new Core 3 UI™ touch panel technology. Also Creston's DigitalMedia™, video routing and reticulation solution, was a highlight that amazed visitors with its broad range of applications; from simple boardrooms to command centres and even creative video wall applications.
Room scheduling also piqued the interest of the punter, with Crestron's lighting control and energy monitoring products getting the nod from facility managers and consultants. All in all we are very pleased with the positive response and look forward to participating in future Mediatech events."
In December 2012 AVPRO Systems won the contract to upgrade the AV set-up of an auditorium at the multi-national corporation's offices in central Johannesburg.
According to Phillip Otto, project manager on the installation, the client had a number of reasons to upgrade the auditorium. Firstly, they wanted to upgrade from Standard Definition to High Definition in order to align with the technical standards of their London office. Secondly, the existing teleconference system was out of date, with equipment that has not been supported for over five years. Thirdly, the current analogue system was technologically out of date.
Phillip said "The client had a relatively advanced auditorium, but needed that edge when it came to their bigger events. We believed installing Crestron Digital Media and Kramer digital equipment would certainly give them that".
Phillip's team had been looking forward to the challenge since the multi-national approached them in the year before. "Our first challenge was the massive amount of redundant cabling that had to be removed," said Phillip.
The next challenge was the setting up of the three 6000 lumens projectors on a curved wall with edge-blending and some geometrical correction. Apart from optimising the positions of the projectors, we had to make sure they were physically 100% secure, "Our client was really serious about safety, especially in the corporate environment," added Phillip.
Abrie du Plooy – Product Manager for GALAXY and NEC at Electrosonic SA – who assisted with the installation, admits to being challenged when he discovered all the intricacies posed by edge-blending and geometrical correction. Once installation was complete, the GALAXY PRO Video wall processor had to be matched to the total viewing area now covered by the three projectors.
"It took a bit of thinking and along with rusty mathematics we carefully designed the display area on the GALAXY PRO to match the viewing area on the screens," said Abrie. Thanks to the GALAXY Wall Control Software, and after a trial run or two, the said design functioned flawlessly. However, the real challenge was yet to come.
Abrie explains what Edge-Blending is: "It simply means to overlap either side of each adjacent projected image and thus create a flowing image without any visible edges or lines from the individual images". To achieve this, one has to sacrifice pixels from either image by moving them over one another in order to form a smooth transition from the one image to the next, and the more pixels used, the smoother the transition. "It was recommended that we use as much as 20% of each display for the overlap section," adds Abrie.
On a Full HD image (1920x1080), 20% horizontal edge blending, amounts to almost 400 pixels (200 either side), which would turn a 16:9 screen ratio into a very unusual ratio of 8:9. Something that would ruin any input that one tries to display on the screen. However, the GALAXY gives operators the freedom of treating the entire edge-blended area as one big display, and with the functionality in the software that allows one to create an image of any size and shape, anywhere on the display, the screen ratio was no problem at all.
The GALAXY PRO Video Wall controller, with the Wall-Control software package, handled all the relevant inputs in their correct screen ratio across the wall. The system is also designed to only use areas displayed on any one or two of the three projectors at a time, in case one of them would go faulty. This, combined with the redundancy already built into the GALAXY in the form of dual-power supply and a dual RAID-1 hard drive set (both hot-swappable), makes it a very redundant, mission critical system.
Phillip says the clients are satisfied with the huge benefits the upgraded system offers: apart from utilising the latest technology on the market, the new camera system can be operated without a camera operator, with resultant savings. HD means better quality and better projector images. The new system requires less control room equipment "We reduced it from three equipment racks to only one rack", said Phillip "And less equipment means fewer faults".
State of the art AV? Fewer faults? Cost-savings?
Now those are benefits even multi-nationals love.
BILL OF MATERIALS
6000 ANSI Lumens Projectors
Custom Ceiling Mount Brackets
Custom Built Curved Frame Screen
HD DVD Players
VersaLight White LED Light
VersaLight SMD Power Supply
Integrated HD Cameras
HD Video Conferencing System
Dual Telephone Hybrid
Crestron Digital Media Switcher
Crestron DM 8G+TM Input Card
Crestron CAT 5 Input Card
Crestron DM Input Card
Crestron DM Input Card
Crestron DVI/RGB Input Card
Crestron SDI Input Card
Kramer Automatic Switcher
Kramer HD Video Matrix
Crestron HDMI Output Cards
Crestron 8G HDMI Output Card
Crestron 8G DM Wall Boxes
Crestron 8G Twisted Pair TR
Crestron Media Input
Crestron DM CAT Transmitter
Crestron DM Room Controller
AVPRO AT A GLANCE
AVPRO Audio Visual Systems Consultants was established in 1990 by managing member Dries Nel and has a staff of nine. He says: "We are turnkey integrators of audio visual solutions for boardrooms, auditoriums and video conferencing". Dries has a simple philosophy: "AVPRO will respect the individual needs of each customer and offer professional, reliable and cost-effective solutions through extensive, cutting-edge research". AVPRO has done installations for cellular phone, mining and motor companies as well as government departments. Dries says his secret to surviving in a competitive industry for so long is simple: "We view a project as the process of converting the client's defined requirements into a viable operation." The process includes ten steps: from brief preparation to support. Dries believes in detailed planning and clear communication with clients. His belief in the process makes AVPRO's slogan a promise and a guarantee: You think it. We do it.