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InfoComm Rundown Part II: AMX, SunbriteTV, Ricoh, and More

I knew yesterday’s rundown of my InfoComm booth visits was running its course when I hit AMX in my notes. The breadth of new technologies on display from a company that previously seemed a bit quiet to me on the product development front so far this year impressed me. Immediately upon my arrival at their booth first thing Friday morning, I could see that AMX had a great deal of development going on behind the scenes. They called the show “our biggest InfoComm ever.”

My interest was most piqued by the new collaborative communications interface, Enzo, designed for instant access to and sharing of content. There are multiple means users can choose to connect to the Enzo platform—QR code, for example, for signing in with a mobile device. Content is immediately accessed from the web, Dropbox, or USB device. A QR code is also available for meeting attendees to instantly access a presentation or other files. PoE connectivity makes installation simpler, and the system can even be expanded to control the lighting and other electronic components of the room.

The big takeaway with Enzo that might distinguish it from other solutions is the security. Once a session is ended, which can be detected by sensors in the room, in the event a meeting facilitator forgets to sign out, all data is immediately purged from the devices.

AMX also highlighted its Modero S touchscreens, which can be glass mounted with a transparent cable for a sleek appearance. An LED indicates meeting room occupancy, so someone can simply look down the hallway to check if a room is reserved or available.

One other big development from AMX was the Modero X series G5 touchpanel, featuring a “huge” increase in processor power.

This is just a small sampling of all the new innovations AMX unveiled. There were a number of compelling networked media solutions; there’s a nice video running through those, here. And there’s a handy guide to all of the new products here.

Over at the HDBaseT booth, Micha Risling, vice president of marketing and business development for Valens Semiconductor, exuded great excitement about the rate the alliance’s members have expanded at—more than doubling—with newcomers like Savant, Epson, Hitachi, NEC, and Panasonic joining recently. HDBaseT is expanding into new categories as well, with its first consumer AV receiver from Pioneer allowing them to tap into the CE market much more. Flat-panel displays are also a new area, with the introduction of an 84-inch 4K display from Primeview, as well as an outdoor display from Aquavision, bringing single-wire connection to displays.

Ricoh is a newer player in the projector market, a sort of puzzling concept, but they seem to have an interesting story I plan to learn more about. Traditionally, Ricoh is a very successful (about $20 billion—yes, with a “B”—in sales last year) office automation technology firm with worldwide reach. The shift into projectors was a natural fit, and Paul Foschino, senior manager of the visual communications group, was both enthused and confident with the company’s second InfoComm appearance (the first being last year).

Foschino showed me some portable digital signage solutions, featuring limitless scalability and Scalable Display Technology as its edge blending manufacturing partner.

Ricoh’s booth also highlighted a series of Desk Edge projectors, featuring an ergonomic design where the connections and fan are at the front/lens-side of the projector, allowing them to conveniently drape over the edge of a table, instead of dragging along a table in the back. There are both short throw and networking versions.

SunBriteTV is continuing its Marquee Series outdoor displays with touch-enabled models for digital signage now with both portrait and landscape modes. They are now available in 32-inch, 47-inch, and 55-inch versions, the smallest version per integrator feedback. The product ranges were expanded to address market changes, Tom Dixon, vice president marketing, said, also noting that they’ve solved isotropic issues.

While suitable for pretty much any outdoor application, the hospitality market in particular is a big focus for SunbriteTV. Dixon predicts that in five years, outdoor touch displays will be “ubiquitous” in luxury resorts.

For a relatively modest sized booth, I was impressed by how much video technology Matrox packed in, without even the slightest appearance of clutter. The new Matrox Maevex video distribution over IP solution consists of an encoder/decoder pair that extends 1080p60 video and audio over a standard IP network. Users can define low bit rates for minimal bandwidth consumption.

The Matrox Mura videowall controller features inputs and outputs on the same board, something Matrox boasts that no one else does. The free Matrox software and Mura control for Windows is now more robust.

The Matrox Monarch video streaming and recording device is capable of live streaming events and recording for post-event editing. The standalone device provides two independent delivery channels in an integrated unit, generating H.264-encoded stream from any HDMI input source.

While this is by no means an exhaustive report on everything I saw at InfoComm, there’s a good spread of varying technologies addressing different vertical markets.

Now that the initial post-show exhaustion has begun to lift, I’m excited about what the commercial AV market has to offer in the coming year.