Since yesterday streamed past us like a geek on a segway, I was kinda expecting Friday to be crazy. Full of, oh I don’t know... more geeks on segways or something epically superior to the wonderfulness that was Thursday at InfoComm. Well, that really didn’t happen. I couldn’t find a segway for anything. And I looked too! What I did find on Day Three at InfoComm was a lot of tired attendees and tired exhibitors. The final day is always the hardest. Luckily for me, I still had quite a few booths to visit and some people to talk to. It’s not that I’m a procrastinator, it just that it’s InfoComm... there’s a ton to see so lets get on with it!
My first major stop of the day was Shure, albeit the true first major stop was Starbucks, but that was a given. I’ve been a fan of Shure for years and they always bring something cool to the show. This year something shiny caught my eye and I was lucky enough to get to talk with one of the products engineers to get the skinny on it. You see, I found the Axient line of wireless mics right off that bat. This system is designed to really be helpful to the touring professional or anyone who needs a very, very nice wireless microphone system.
Did I mention it is a very nice mic system? It was so nice I actually took a brochure, that is one of three brochures i actually got off the show floor. You know, the paper ones! What really made the Axient system stand out was the Axient Spectrum Manager. This one rack unit piece intelligently monitors the RF spectrum of your facility and shares it between the networked devices in real time. It will actually push this information out to the body-packs and wireless handhelds. That’s really stinking cool! It has an interference detection system that will alert the system the moment interference happens and switch devices to clear channels. Did I mention that you can control and manage all aspects of the system while it’s in use even remotely via the workbench software? Let me put it this way: I liked this system so much I want one for me!
I then headed over to the Vaddio booth to get some hands on with some of their products, especially the new EZUSB gear, but I didn’t expect to have so much fun. Seriously, those guys from Mini-St. Paul are hilarious. Not sure I’ve ever had so much fun doing a booth tour, and that says a lot. Anyways, after a few minutes of me making fun of the lack of telephone communication systems in Canada, we started the tour. What surprised me was the amount of gear that Vaddio makes that I didn’t really realize they were into. Lots of cool stuff, from switchers and such to PTZ broadcast quality cams that can auto track talent. Pretty cool stuff. Then we got into the demo rooms where they were hiding the new EZUSB gear. I had been looking forward to seeing this since the press release on it a little while back. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It’s a whole line of products based around an easy to use USB HD PTZ Camera (hence the EZUSB nameplate, get it?). This is one product that is perfect for all those installations where people want to be able to easily use the system with MS Lync, Jabber, Skype, or what have you. And to top it off, they make a bridge for all those existing systems that need a quick and easy way to utilize all these other services like Skype.
So to try to mellow out a bit after all the trouble I caused in the Vaddio booth, and to keep on this boardroom-ish kick. I hit up the Barco booth. Sure, your thinking that I’m gonna go on and on about their projectors and the such. But I would say “Nay, Nay,” this is strictly a boardroom kind of day. We sped right past all the glossy projectors and the beautiful images splashed across screens and headed for the center of the booth. Here we found the cleverly named ClickShare system. This is a presentation product designed to make presentation easy for anyone. You just hook the base unit to your presentation device, be it a projector or a flatscreen, then take a ClickShare button and plug the USB into your computer. All the software for the system stays on the button and runs automatically, no drivers to install, just plug in and go. Once plugged in, you can share your computer's display to the presentation device with one click of the ClickShare (get it, you ‘click’ it and it ‘shares’—amazing marketing) button, and ‘click’, it’s on the screen. You can have up to 25 buttons per system and up to four on the screen at one time. Pretty cool stuff, and more importantly, it’s stuff that I already have customers that need it!
So although I saw many more cool things that probably deserve to be mentioned, these were the highlights of my Friday on Day Three of InfoComm. It’s always a balance at the show to see what is good, what is cool, what is vapourware, and what I can use tomorrow. Maybe I don’t geek out for some on products and specs, but that last one is always what it comes down to for me. Stuff I can use! That’s the key to these shows. It’s not all the glitz and glamour, but finding new pieces of equipment that you can go out and use tomorrow!
May your future be bright and your lights dim!
Matt D. Scott is the president and founder of OMEGA Audio Video, in London, Ontario. Matt had his first encounter with Pro-Audio at age 6 when a PA loudspeaker fell, cracking his head, and leaving a scar to this day. After mopping up the blood, Matt started his A/V career and has been working in Pro A/V, Commercial A/V, and Residential A/V ever since. Matt loves the industry and all things tech! A self-professed TechHead, Matt shares his opinions on social media, local radio, on omegaaudiovideo.com, on mattdscott.com, and through various publications.