One Meeting Planner’s Challenge Post COVID – the Answer is Short

At a recent gathering of professional meeting planners, they tapped into my AV industry experience to discuss how to keep people socially distanced but not have to rent a ton more meeting space while providing a great AV experience. I told them the answer was short… short throw!

I recently had the privilege to be involved in a meeting planner’s conference with a mix of agencies and in-house corporate planners to discuss the business of getting back to in-person meetings. Part of my role at Almo is to help plan and produce our own E4 Experience traveling show among dozens of other smaller tradeshows, events and summits with the help of an amazing events team. As the turmoil of COVID continues to linger, we all compared notes about “how are we going to do it… and SAFELY?”.

One major expense for any event is the rental of the meeting space – it’s usually wrapped into a package with catering and sleeping rooms but when you have a local event like an E4 Experience, the meeting space rental can be pricey. My fellow meeting planners there do not have the advantage of their own “house AV” comprised of many CTS Certified business development managers such as Brian Rhatigan to help spec and design the most effective solution.

The usual gold standard for a meeting is rear projection for that “wow” factor of the big stage with multiple screens without seeing that ugly stand and hoping someone does not walk in front of it, trip on a cable(s)… you get the picture. However, we all know that takes up a lot of space. Now that we have to socially distance six feet apart and still want that wow factor and NOT break the bank on meeting space, we’re lucky to have in our arsenal the short throw projector which, if used properly can still provide the “wow”.

Epson’s PowerLite Pro L series offers a full line of high-bright laser projectors ranging from 6,000 lumens up to 30,000 lumens, all with optional interchangeable lenses including those for short throw applications.  When it comes to rear-projection, a typical projector will require about 25 feet of clearance behind the screen.  This can be reduced significantly by using one of Epson’s short throw lenses shrinking the required distance down to under 10 feet.  For a 75-foot-wide ballroom this gives you an additional 1875 square of usable space while maintaining the clean and clutter-free look of rear-projection.

My meeting planner colleagues were also discussing various ways to produce more revenue for sponsorships or reduce the cost of printing large signs and paying for rigging for, in many cases, union labor (not to mention the environmental impact of all that vinyl in landfills). I introduced them to the Epson LightScene laser projector to empower them with the creative freedom and flexibility to tell the client’s story, in the way they envision it. Forget the old gobo lights!!! Engage your audience by designing a visually compelling and immersive experience.

It was SO great being IN-PERSON with these folks! The ideas flowing, exchanging terrific keynote speakers, wonderful venues – there’s nothing like being in person. As part of the AV industry, I was thrilled to share some new tech with them to help us all get back together.


As Almo Professional AV prepares to celebrate 10 years in operation as business unit of Almo Corporation I feel grateful and proud to be part of this great organization. Looking back to 2009, at the origination of the division we had no vendor partners and no customers while today we have thousands of loyal customers and amazing partnerships with approximately 50 of the most desired manufacturers in the industry.

While many key factors have contributed to our mutual success with our customers and vendor partners, one key driver is our intentional strategy to keep our line card relatively narrow and focused compared to other distribution companies. When it comes to displays and projectors we aim to partner with a wide range of vendors to support the demand in the marketplace, however in other product categories we have chosen to partner with only a small number of manufacturers that we feel to be the best in class. This strategy has helped Almo to remain important to our existing partners as well as enabled us to better support a more narrow set of vendors.

With this, you won’t see very many new vendor partnerships announced by Almo each year.   However, when it makes sense for a new partnership in the eyes of Almo and the potential vendor and we feel the partnership will bring value to our loyal customers then we will move forward with a new product offering.   The last six to nine months we have found ourselves in a situation where there were several new partnerships taking place including D-Link, Ecler, VDO360, and Vivitek.

If you have had the opportunity to attend any of our recent E4 Experience events you likely heard our keynote speaker Gary Kayye talking about the emergence of AV over IP solutions. If you think about it, all sorts of professional A/V products now have a network port and can live on an IP network. The addition of D-Link now gives our customers the ability to include the networking solutions (i.e. switches, wireless routers, etc.) along with the rest of the gear they are sourcing from Almo for their given project.

Ecler, while probably not a familiar name to you here in the United States has been providing high quality commercial audio solutions in Europe for over 50 years. Through our partnership as the exclusive distributor in the United States Almo can offer our customers high quality proven products including loudspeakers, amplifiers, DSP, mixers & more at competitive pricing all while helping dealers to maintain healthy margins on their projects.

When it comes to soft codec based video conferencing, Zoom has taken the world by storm so it’s only natural that manufacturers are offering products that integrate with soft codec platforms. One of the challenges is including different components from different vendors that may or may not be tested or certified by Zoom potentially leading to support issues post installation.   One of the things that attracted us to VDO360 was their single SKU, single box ZoomRoom kit that includes the camera, audio conferencing, PC, tablet controller and all required cabling, leaving out only the display.

While we were already well served with our existing projector manufacturer relationships, the addition of Vivitek adds a little more depth to our line up and will provide our customers with quality projector hardware at price points that may have not been previously available, with strong programs to enhance dealer’s margins.

Please visit or contact your Almo Account Manager for additional details on these solutions. Next stop, InfoComm 19.  Register with code ALM123 for a free pass.

A Free-Standing Interactive Kiosk Installed with Content in 30 Minutes? Yep!

Would you be interested in installing a free-standing, 55” portrait kiosk with touch and Wi-Fi connectivity?  This kiosk would support a simple interactive directory board, which an end-user can easily update and manage using a cloud-based CMS.  All this for around $5,500 retail with an estimated $120/yr. cloud-based CMS fee?  And better yet, install it in 30 minutes?

I think I just heard a collective YES!!!!!!!!!!

The opportunity has arrived and is available to dealers regardless of digital signage content experience or having an extensive company.

Introducing the Peerless-AV KIPICT555 “All-in-One” portrait, free-standing kiosk.  This kiosk solution is literally ready  to go out of the box with a low suggested retail list price of $3,375.  It ships complete and assembled with a 55”, 24/7 display that has six simultaneous points of interactive touch, a BrightSign media player and Wi-Fi/RJ45 connectivity.  An integrator just unpacks the kiosk, moves it into position and plugs it in.  Once powered, simply follow a few on-screen menu instructions and the kiosk is ready for a digital signage application.

Here’s a video of Earl Naegele, Managing Director at Peerless-AV explaining this Kiosk at a 2018 E4 AV Tour Stop.

And, Almo’s content creation services stands ready to provide dealers with content solutions for their customers.  Almo provides dealers with standardized and custom solutions utilizing HTML5 cloud-based content and an easy-to-use CMS for end-users.  This includes end-user training to fully complete the project.

BTW, did you know that Almo recently acquired Insteo, a specialized digital signage content and creative company?  Check it out!

Dealers now have the abililty to offer the ENTIRE digital signage solution and control the entire transaction.  In turn, Almo has the Peerless-AV KIPICT555 in stock and our content creation team ready to provide solutions to meet your customers’ visions.

Almo’s E4 AV Tour will be making stops this fall in Boston, MA on September 21 and Nashville, TN on October 26.  Don’t miss your chance to see the Kiosk and other exciting technology from your favorite manufacturer partners and register to attend now!

How to deliver the ultimate cure for your customers

OK y’all, this is my first time as an Almo Blogger.  Or is it Bloggist?  Filipino by birth, East Tennessean by the grace of God, this Filbilly sometimes doesn’t rightly know what term to use.

However, I do know the difference between these two terms: Pro AV Pharmacist vs. Pro AV Physician.

I was at Walgreens one evening to stock up on a few vitamins, and I overheard a man ask the pharmacist if he could give him something for hiccups. The pharmacist promptly reached out and slapped the man’s face!

The man exclaimed, “What’d you do that for?”

“Well, you don’t have the hiccups anymore, do you?” said the pharmacist.

The man said, “No, but my wife out in the car still does!”

Questions are the answers.

To me, a pharmacist is someone who fills a prescription … someone who dispenses a medication or a fix. A Pro AV pharmacist would be a reseller whom, for example, when asked by his/her end user for a quote on a 5000 lumen WUXGA projector, simply provides the prices of a few projectors fitting that description.

A physician is someone who asks diagnostic questions to uncover every symptom/point of pain/challenge and provides the necessary treatment to remove the issue, address other situations which may affect the patient, and avoid future reoccurrences. Compare that to a Pro AV physician, a reseller whom, when asked by his/her end user for a quote on that 5000 lumen WUXGA projector, would ask questions such as:

  • What’s the application? How many hours per day will the projector be in use?
  • What type of lighting is in the room?
  • What kind of content is being presented?
  • Is there a projector screen already installed? What’s the gain on that screen?
  • What size is the screen? What’s the aspect ratio?
  • At what distance will the projector be installed?
  • What are you connecting?
  • How far away is your source?
  • What’s the budget?
  • How are you mounting the unit?
  • Who’s doing the installation?

When you ask the questions necessary to present a solution, you might find that the product your customer originally asked for doesn’t fit the project requirements.

Here’s a situation to keep in mind when your end user tells you that he/she wants a quote on a solution he/she saw online. One day, a reseller asked me for a quote on a TV by specific part number. I started by asking him, “What’s the application?”

He quickly dismissed my questioning by saying that the end user has a small budget and that’s what he asked for. I asked him again, “What’s the TV being used for?” He said it’s being used for surveillance. I said, “Surveillance, as in 24 hours a day?” He quickly realized that the TV he asked for wasn’t designed for 24/7 operation and thanked me for saving his petooty.  Remember, don’t just fill the prescription!

You can also be a hero when a customer asks for a quote on a consumer TV to be installed in a commercial setting.

After asking questions about the project requirements and—if you determine that the consumer TV will fit the commercial application in terms of brightness, hours of operation, and budget—educate him/her by saying, “The 1-year manufacturer’s warranty reduces to 90 days when the TV is for commercial use. Do you want to upgrade your service coverage to a 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-year extended warranty?” Asking the right questions and educating your customer on consumer warranties could avoid a costly situation if the displays were to go funky after 90 days.

Almo Services: your partner to deliver the full package.

It’s absolutely critical to ask a lot of questions so you can provide a total solution. Always add the mounts and extended warranties (when it applies) onto the quote.  Ask what other essentials are needed—cables, signal flow, control systems, audio. Ask who’s installing the job. (If you’re not able to provide that service, let Almo Install be an arm to your team!) Ask who’s creating the content on the digital signage project. (Not your area of expertise? Almo Content will do it for you!)  Ask who’s programming the control systems. (You don’t have a programmer to do it? Almo Control is your resource!) Ask about their current phone, internet and TV service. (You can earn a monthly revenue stream as a provider through Almo Connect!) If you’re not familiar with these accompanying products and services to complete the project, your Almo account manager can help you!

Learn the latest for FREE!

Whether you’re already calling yourself Doctor AV, or if you’re still developing your expertise in the Pro AV space and want to become a better Pro AV physician, attend one of our FREE 2018 E4 Pro AV Tour stops to learn about the hottest technology and trends:

  • Washington, DC – March 6
  • Dallas – April 24
  • Boston – September 21
  • Nashville – October 26

Stethoscope and lab coat not required.

Did You Experience the Samsung Showcase Experience?

Interview with Shari Sentlowitz 

Senior Manager New Product Launch
Samsung Business

On October 3, Almo Pro A/V hosted its final E4 AV Tour of the year in Irvine, CA.  It was a great location to wrap up our year-long traveling training and networking event, which also stopped in Chicago, San Jose and New York in 2017.

QUIZ: The first FIVE to respond win a $5 Starbucks gift card!

How well do you know Almo Pro A/V? Answer this question in the comments.

The VERY FIRST Almo Pro A/V E4 AV Tour took place in New York City in December of what year?

  1. 2008
  2. 2009
  3. 2010
  4. 2011

Almo has a growing number of channel partners on the west coast so it is only appropriate that we held TWO E4s in the Cali area this year.

We’ve hosted tens of thousands of industry professionals at our E4 events over the years. We’ve also issued hundreds upon hundreds of InfoComm (AVIXA) Renewal Units during E4! E4 day is a whirlwind of educational sessions, hands-on workshops and an exhibit hall filled with the newest products from 40+ of the top manufacturers in the industry. No doubt, it is an energy-filled day that can easily change the course of a reseller or integrator’s career for the better. Permanently.

This is how a Pro AV Princess starts her day!


Side note: I was given the nickname by some of my dealer partners a few years back and the name just stuck! So I just make the best of it, using my magical powers to give resellers and integrators the best products, pricing and promotions available!

One of the major highlights of our 2017 tour has been the Samsung Experience Showcase. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the Experience, let me tell you, it’s a mini trade show on its own. The Samsung team sets up a tent in a separate space within the same venue as our E4. This area is filled with the latest Samsung displays and other products, all of which are in use.

From there…you know what? Rather than having me go on about the Samsung Experience, I’ll let Shari Sentlowitz, senior manager new product launch, Samsung Business give you the details:



Why does Samsung like to participate in the Almo E4 AV Tour?

Let me start by saying, we LOVE the Almo E4 AV Tour. This event gives us the opportunity to meet with our channel partners near and far, and introduce them to all the great things about Samsung signage. It also gives us a forum to meet with the channel partners we do regular business with to show some of the latest and greatest technology in our lineup at an event that is both exclusive and comfortable.



Thank you! So tell me about the Samsung Experience Showcase.

So the Samsung Experience Showcase featured 12 of our newest displays. It was great to introduce our NEW QH55H, the first commercial QLED display of its kind that delivers exceptional picture quality through quantum dot composition.

We included our full HD lineup, including our new DC49H cost-effective SMART signage for a range of business needs. This line was introduced about a month ago – it’s an entry level digital signage display.

We also had the PM43H displays on hand. This is a premium full HD series, which is built to handle any business need with 24/7 durability. In addition, we showed different types of LCD video wall options ranging from a 1.7mm bezel for a slim depth to a 5.5mm bezel for a range of options. And we showed the first SMART LED video wall signage for indoors with high dynamic range technology.

To view a video of Shari walking around the Samsung Experience Showcase, click here.



So what’s the buzz at Samsung right now?

Something you’re going to hear a lot about from Samsung is huddle spaces! In about 30 days, you’ll see some great opportunities to outfit and modernize the workplace a little differently than what you’ve seen in the past. In the very near future, we’ll have some great huddle space packages to share with you.

If you missed the Samsung Experience Showcase, it’s ok…because it will be back on the tour in 2018! Stay tuned for Spring 2018 E4 AV Tour dates and locations, which will be announced soon!

In the meantime, if you need more information about any of the Samsung displays available through Almo Pro A/V, please reach out to me at [email protected]!

My Take on Samsung’s The Frame… The Most Beautiful TV You’ve Never Seen

Last week I was at CEDIA expo in San Diego and I got a firsthand look at the 2017 product of the year, The Frame.   Does it live up the hype? You bet it does.   Don’t worry if you missed it.  You can check it out for yourself at the

What impressed me was how difficult it was to tell which was The Frame and which was a work of art, even when standing inches away.

Here’s a video of me talking about some of my favorite features:

Samsung Art Tripod Stand

I have seen sleek wall mounted TVs, but never one that blends into wall décor like this.  The “No Gap” wall mount lives up to its name.  The mount actually counter sinks into the back of the display allowing it to sit flush against the wall.

Also on display at the booth was the art tripod stand with an ultra-thin fiber wire that runs to the one connect box that can be housed up to 15 meters away from the frame.

Samsung Booth at CEDIA

The Samsung Booth at CEDIA was so crowded with visitors all day it was nearly impossible to get this shot of the actual booth display.

It is truly no wonder that Samsung won the CEDIA 2017 New Product of the Year Award.

So where does this fit into the Pro AV market when it was obviously designed with the consumer in mind?  Think corporate lobbies, or the CEO’s boardroom, where many times interior designers are looking for less TV and more art.

Even better, to help integrators who are using these consumer products in Pro applications, there is this new portal for you!

The portal is ever evolving, but for now it is a one stop shop for custom installers with all the information that used to be scattered over main websites and portals.

Here’s a video of me explaining the portal:

San Diego Convention Center

Fish Market Restaurant

The San Diego Convention center was amazing!  You could walk just a couple blocks to the water.  As a new fan of seafood, I was not disappointed in my dinner at the Fish Market restaurant.  Right on the water and situated next to an air craft carrier, it was absolutely breath taking.

Jonathan Brawn of Brawn Consulting couldn’t have been nicer.  He knew the area and recommended the restaurant for dinner and filled us in on the history of the area.

The icing on the cake was a fireworks display launched from the bow of the USS Midway.

Thank you Samsung, for having me at CEDIA!

Share with us in the comments… In what Pro AV applications do you see The Frame?

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