Expect The Unexpected - AvNetwork.com

Expect The Unexpected

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Trade-show technology launches tend to fall into two categories: enhancements of already successful product lines, and innovations which take a manufacturer into previously virgin territory. Luckily for this foot-weary InfoComm blogger, this year's show has already thrown up a few examples of the latter.

Long before any official visitor numbers have been released, it's clear that InfoComm 07 is one hell of a busy show. Walking from end of the Anaheim Convention Center to the other seems to take forever, not just because of the distance involved, but because of the sheer numbers of people crowding the aisles. On my way to an appointment with Biamp Systems, it took all my reserves of self-control to resist the allure of an ice-cream stall that promised, among other things, a choice of eight different sprinkles.

The trip was well worth it, though. Biamp is using InfoComm to debut an all-new Paging System which uses the power of the company's AudiaFLEX DSP engine to create a product which, to these eyes at least, is the most flexible paging option this side of a completely customized solution. While legacy audio networks have required the installation of separate systems to support audio, paging, and video conferencing, the Biamp Paging System allows integrators to create a single network for all these requirements.

According to Graeme Harrison, VP of International Sales, the Paging System is the result of an extensive R&D program which saw Biamp consulting with some of the world's leading installers and distributors about what they would like from such a system, if given a blank sheet of paper. The result, Harrison says, is a system which "redefines what you can do with paging".

It also redefines what Biamp can get from its market, supplying its existing customer base with a product that takes it into a wide range of new applications. As Harrison points out: "This might seem like an unexpected move, but it makes good business sense, both for us and for our dealers. There are so many more paging systems out there than there are boardroom and video conferencing systems, which is our traditional market."

While Biamp is extending its reach into new kinds of projects, Danish Interpretation Systems -- which is showing just around the corner -- is deepening integration in a different way. Historically a respected maker of congress and translation systems, many of them involving custom hardware, DIS is at InfoComm showing a conference streaming and archiving solution for the automated recording and broadcast of meetings.

The SW7001 Streaming Solution allows meeting organizers to broadcast their meetings via the internet -- either audio alone, or audio together with a video signal from one or more cameras. This in turn enables people not present at the conference to follow proceedings from a distance, either live or on demand.

"We've had conference management software in a client/server version for several years," says Finn Halken, Managing Director of DIS. "But with our newly launched Web Service Interface, we can offer automatic recording of events and display them over the internet."

Halken sees government, public institutions, and private enterprises as being target markets for the Streaming Solution, and, like Biamp, DIS is seeking to grow dealer revenues by exposing more end customers to its technology. As Halken puts it: "This is a democratic way to include more meeting participants, even if they are at a distance."

I've often wondered if a similar technology might one day be applied to trade shows, so that I could save on shoe leather by participating "at a distance". Blogging might go some way toward this ideal, yet somehow, at this show, it has fallen to me to actually do the blogging.

Still, there is an upside. InfoComm's sprinkle-laden ice-cream cones are second to none.

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