InfoComm 2016 saw roughly 38,000 attendees churn through the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Even though the number of attendees was less than the Orange County Convention Center crowd for InfoComm 2015 (InfoComm’s current record attendance) it certainly did not disappoint. In fact, InfoComm 2016 saw more than 1,000 companies exhibiting for the first time in the history of the show. There was a lot of buzz on the floor from attendees over what they had seen and much to be optimistic about for the future of the industry.
Audio companies adding video (and vice versa): It’s my personal opinion that in the future we’ll see more manufacturers attempt to bring together end-to-end solutions. We saw the first of that this year. Biamp unveiled their TesiraLux video encoders and decoders, allowing users to add 4k video transmission across 10gb networks using AVB with minimum compression, or over 1gb AVB networks with more compression. QSC, another company historically known as an audio company, unveiled a network-based extension to their Q-SYS platform which introduces AV to USB Bridging. This solution includes a camera and an I/O USB Bridge or the already available TSC-7t tabletop control panel; these are network devices, eliminating the frustration of point-to-point solutions. Conversely, Crestron, primarily known as a video and control manufacturer, debuted a series of audio DSP products to go alongside their well-known and more ubiquitous video counterparts.
Video over IP: Video over IP (not to be confused with Voice over IP) was an important evolution for the industry. The AV Industry has been steeped in hardware based, point-to-point video distribution technologies for far too long. Granted, we’ve come a long way from the days of five-wire bnc and the like, but we still have a long way to go. While SVSi (now part of AMX and subsequently Harman) has had Video over IP solutions for some time, it was good to see them joined in the marketplace by Biamp, Atlona, Aurora, ZeeVee and others had 4K solutions routable over the network with varying specifications (I won’t dull you with them, and this isn’t a spec sheet). Time will tell how widely these technologies will be adopted, especially those requiring a 10gb network.
Tracking Solutions: Newcomers to the show, Dycap, unveiled their solution for using third party cameras with their computer-based tracking control system. Vaddio, which has had their AutoTrak solution in the marketplace for a long time unveiled an elegant update inRoboTrak—better quality video and tracking with a lower price point and easier installation. 1Beyond also had a tracking camera in an all-in-one form factor, though I didn’t get to see it in person to gauge its operation. Those looking for automated tracking solutions, especially education and training environments, now have several options to choose from depending on their pricing and quality needs.
I’m sure InfoComm 2017 will bring another record-setting year for the number of attendees and exhibitors. Hopefully next year we’ll see the next steps of migrating away from traditional point-to-point systems as well as further proliferation of full end-to-end solutions from manufacturers. All this to say, I’m looking forward to next summer’s event, even if it comes with unbearable heat and humidity.
Mike Brandes is an AV and IT professional that has held positions both as an end user/tech manager, as well as in AV manufacturing.