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Orlando or Bust - An InfoComm Cheat Sheet

Orlando or Bust - An InfoComm Cheat Sheet

The metrics of InfoComm 2013 are like a course in physics. The quotient of time and the principles of energy, mass, and inertia are all factors in the equation of maximizing your experience throughout the week of June 8-14 at the Orange County Convention Center. So get out your highlighter and study the outline below to receive high marks as one of the expected 35,000 attendees who will have a chance to see more than 10,000 products from 925 companies and participate in any one of more than 300 InfoComm University education sessions.

Special Events: New show programming and events for 2013 include a revised InfoComm Opening Reception, Tech Zone Pavilions, and InfoComm University sessions, more than half of which are new, including: Women in Technology Symposium, Digital Image Content in Live Event Production, CTS-I Prep, Business Leadership Workshop, Integrating AV Services in an IT Dominated World, and four new sessions in The Digital Signage Training Sampler.

Digital Signage Pavilion – If you want to pass the test in digital signage, it’s all about content. This year The Digital Signage Content Creation Zone will provide demonstrations and training to help you master this subject matter.

Education – Make sure you enroll in your edification by attending courses offered by InfoComm University, including three days of pre-show education with “total immersion” technical courses and the full day of courses and “Future Trends” panel discussion on Super Tuesday. Also on offer are Daybreak Sessions designed to tackle training subjects before the show floor opens, AV Tech Tours in the Orlando area, and of the essential seminars and workshops on everything from networking for AV professionals to incorporating video streaming and managing an AV department.

Partner training opportunities will occur before and during the event: 3D Comm, DisplaySearch, IMCCA, Projection Summit, Realcomm/IBCon, SynAudCon, and Technologies for Worship. In addition, more than 30 leading manufacturers will offer 60 sessions on specific audiovisual products and solutions.

Videoconferencing – InfoComm’s partnership with IMCCA, the videoconferencing and telepresence association, will allow attendees to delve deep into the subjects of telepresence, conferencing and unified communications. Some 100 manufacturers will exhibit in a 50,000-square-foot Unified Collaborative Conferencing Pavilion. Study up on room systems; mobile and cloud-based conferencing solutions; codecs, network bridges, and gateways; and VoIP, conference phones, and cameras.

SynAudCon – A prerequisite to any career in audiovisual systems integration, SynAudCon will present “Sound Reinforcement for Technicians,” a three-day multimedia seminar with hands-on exercises for audio technicians. Then on June 12, attendees seeking to explore the basics of acoustical site evaluation to provide high-quality audio solutions can attend SynAudCon’s Acoustical Site Survey course. This course will review methods to quantify acoustical qualities of a space and room metrics including clarity, reverberation, and early-decay time.

Smart Video – We are graduating into an age of video technology that simplifies operation and performs many of advanced calculations automatically. Make sure you get the lecture notes on Analog Way’s new LiveCore platform, which will be delivered with the web-based Remote Control Software that allows drag-and-drop creation and management of presets for a variety of visual effects and opens up opportunities for remote services.

Among the numerous technology offerings attracting attention in this are projectiondesign’s ProNet.precision autoalignment software, and 7th Sense’s Delta Media Server that supports multi-channel auto-alignment for warping and blending on a flat, curved, or dome-shaped screen.

Collaboration – InfoComm 2013’s mantra is “Collaborate. Communicate. Connect.” The first of these is a field of study unto itself, as the buzzword aspect fades and practical applications emerge. “We see a much greater emphasis on not just increasing efficiency and cost savings, but on using technology as an enabler for driving collaboration,” observed Patrick Lee, vice president of Barco. “Whether through products like ClickShare, which creates a step function increase in collaboration and content sharing in meeting rooms, presentations, and higher education environments, or through high-quality and affordable virtual teleconferencing solutions, the end goal is the same—engaging participants and stakeholders in ways not previously possible or economically feasible.”

A new idea in the collaboration space is Meyer Sound’s Voice Lift feature, which uses the ceiling-mounted microphones in its Constellation acoustic system to boost speech in corporate environments. The company says this “hands-free” communication method improves intelligibility to promote engagement and productivity in meeting, lecture, and presentation spaces. With Constellation, a venue can alter a room’s acoustical characteristics to suit the event, whether it’s video playback, teleconferencing, lectures, presentations, or Q&A.

Much is also happening in the way of networked collaboration in the command and control space. The Christie Phoenix is an open content management system with a network streaming solution at its core. It allows users to seamlessly access and control information, in virtually any location to collaborate, synthesize, and generate fast and accurate decisions in the most critical situations.

BYOD – The newest acronym to dominate conversations between IT departments and AV personnel is BY OD, or Bring Your Own Device. David Fitzgerald, channel director, North America for Barco sums up the situation well: “The acceptance of BY OD by many enterprise level organizations has created opportunity and challenge for both the users and the IT and AV stakeholders in those organizations. With so much content readily available the demand to share it has grown exponentially. The diversity of the devices creates its own challenges as IT and AV professionals scramble for solutions that will allow more devices from disparate organizations and networks to share and collaborate.”

Fitzgerald also keyed in on another buzzword that will be on the final exam: “huddle spaces.” “With office space contracting due to virtual office growth there is an increasing trend toward less cubicles and more meeting rooms, huddle spaces and open office environments must include ways to collaborate on shared content.”

Problem Solvers: If you’re looking for a study aid, look no further than the bevy of mounting solutions, equipment storage, power management, and furniture options from companies like Chief, Peerless-AV, and Middle Atlantic, which are rapidly becoming all things to all people with their breadth of offerings. In fact, the appropriately rebranded Peerless-AV will expand beyond its mounting and digital signage offerings and present what it’s calling the world’s first wireless Pico Broadcasting system, which utilizes white space channels to broadcast content to an unlimited number of TVs.

Smart Buildings: Another advanced degree option for AV is “going beyond the room” to create large-scale integrated buildings. “The one trend we see in the industry today is the desire for a smart building,” observed Sean Goldstein, vice president of marketing at Crestron. “Organizations don’t want disparate, isolated technology throughout the building that can’t work together in an intelligent way. It takes both hardware and software solutions to make a building truly smart and Crestron will be highlighting this at InfoComm 2013.”

User Interface – The Ph.D. in AV has got to be user interface design. Every system has an interface, and operation has got to be seamless and intuitive in this Apple-product-crazed world. Make sure you visit the Crestron Services Provider Pavilion (formerly the Touch Screen Design Gallery) to check out industry-leading programming and GUI design talents.

Digital Audio and Video Networking – No InfoComm course outline would be complete without a note about the rapid advancements in AVB, Dante, and the seemingly endless array of other networking technologies that unify systems. Which one will gain the most support and pass the test of real-world implementation?

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.