If you’re like many of us in the industry, you have a lot of questions about USB-C and how it fits into AV applications. Fortunately, Legrand AV’s “Technology Evangelist” Joe Cornwall is here to help. Joe presented a very thorough presentation on how USB-C fits into modern AV installations during Almo’s recent E4v.
During Almo’s recent E4v, Joe gave a detailed presentation on how USB-C fits into modern AV installations.
If you missed it, not to worry – you still have a chance! Courtesy of Almo, these trainings are available for another month at the E4v Flex Experience.
Below are three key takeaways from Joe’s session that you’ll definitely want to see:
#1 Cable Lengths and Connectors Matter
The great news about USB-C is that there is finally a single connector, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s upside down anymore. Anyone who has touched a USB cable in the past has certainly dealt with the roller coaster of emotions that come with trying to figure out which way to plug in the cable. USB-C will solve that problem. Unfortunately, because of how much data these new cables are able to handle, they’re limited to very short cable lengths. The longest one you’ll find is six feet! Tune in to Joe’s presentation to learn why you should be excited about these cables, even with such a short length limitation.
#2 New Terms: EMCA Cables and Billboard Devices
Unlike most standard cables, the USB-C connector actually has small chipsets built right into the connector. This means that the cables work in a different manner than previous USB versions. Here are a few terms and features to be aware of: “EMCA Connectors” and “Billboard Devices.” Failing to account for these when needed could create headaches for you and your customers. Joe will teach you what to look for and how to navigate these new waters.
#3 We’re Going to Need a Bigger Docking Station
If you’re planning on deploying USB-C, you should plan on learning the role of docking stations, as these little devices display the true power of USB-C. USB-C allows for the transmission of power, video, audio, data and control bi-directionality. You’ll need a docking station to fully take advantage of all of these features and get the most out of your USB-C products in your system.
Joe’s presentation is worth a 1 AVIXA CTS Renewal Unit. He does a deep dive on these topics (and many more), in a way that onlyLegrand AV’s Joe Cornwall with can. This is one session you won’t want to miss!
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.
This is part three of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. Find part one here and part two here.
You’re in conference calls with partners and coworkers multiple times a day, day after day, week after week. Naturally, you can imagine 2D video meetings have gotten a little old and unimaginative.
ARHT Media and Almo Professional A/V have joined forces. The new partnership brings Holographic TelePresence technology and a new platform for it called the Virtual Global Stage. In case you have not heard, this exciting solution is coming soon to a virtual stage design near you.
While COVID-19 was completely unexpected, we now know a lot more about how work, UCC (unified communications and collaboration) and meeting culture will change. Acting upon this new knowledge now is totally in your power.
What is hologram technology used for? Here are a few applications for which Holographic TelePresence is a perfect fit:
Higher education. Yes, we can do our virtual teaching through video conferencing platforms. But with more than a few people on each session, the personal feel you’re yearning for pretty much vanishes. Classrooms are an ideal place for interactive holographic displays. Why? Because holograms prove particularly useful where a connection is valued.
In the classroom, there’s great importance in seeing facial expressions, storytelling through body language, reading the room before moving onto the next lesson. As great as it is to have Zoom and Teams for digital learning, truly connecting on a 2D platform is tough. Add holography, and picture the wildly enriched lectures and engaging experiences.
Corporate and UCC spaces. The second application to consider as a use case for Holographic TelePresence is corporate. Holographic TelePresence takes the idea of a virtual meeting and infuses it with new energy and possibilities.
While, for now, we see holographic display images used by the C-Suite, widespread use is very possible. In corporate environments, remote or otherwise, ARHT’s technology breaks down the limitations of 2D. Hologram tech in a virtual environment creates an interactive experience that benefits viewers and hologram presenters alike.
Live events, meetings and conferences. Live event programming, while fun and valuable, costs a fortune. Highly desired speakers only have so much time and availability. Consider the possibilities if, suddenly, neither travel nor a large venue were needed. That alone is enough to make an event planner smile.
How great would it be to virtually stage a room and have world-class speakers (think religious leaders, CEOs, politicians, celebrities) at virtual events if the in-person feel was maintained? Booking speakers virtually (who can “beam in” from their remote setup instead of getting on a plane) saves time and finances — plus, it greatly lessens the environmental impact. Through Holographic TelePresence, it’s as though hologram presenters are on stage next to each other.
A Visual Edge and an Emotional Draw: Now Is The Time for 3D Holographic Display Tech
Especially lately, high-status speakers like celebrities are in high demand. But does a 2D video appearance create the connection that an in-person one would? No.
3D hologram meetings and hologram teleconferences deliver a more lifelike presentation and create a bigger emotional draw. In an interview with Inavate Magazine, ARHT Media CEO Larry O’Reilly highlighted an example from December 2018 with “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa.
“He was rehearsing for Saturday Night Live [in New York City],” said O’Reilly. “On Thursday night, he just went to a different studio at 30 Rock, and we beamed him into Mexico City for fan engagement and media events at the IMAX theatre there. The next night, we beamed him into Comic-Con Brazil, where he addressed over 3,000 people live.”
Through its Virtual Global Stage, ARHT leverages the proprietary transmission software that powers its HoloPresence (or “holographic presence”) platform to “beam” multiple presenters into a virtual, online environment. Human holograms then appear in lifesize proportions and can interact with audience members (and the other panelists) virtually.
Hologram solutions are beyond what your customer even knows.
Some may claim that hologram media is a trend — or they’ll say it’s just emerging — but we know otherwise. The benefits of an enhanced teaching presence, a cutting-edge guest appearance or a town hall that doesn’t put you to sleep are massive. We’ve heard people say that futuristic solutions like human hologram technology are just a solution just looking for a problem. COVID-19 has changed this reality.
This is part two of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. You can find part one here.
Providers like Zoom have done an amazing job supporting the new remote world this year. But if you’re now video conferencing all day, you may be “Zoomed out” from all the video calls. I know I am.
What seems like endless video conferences, webinars, and virtual meetings has been, well, fine. And necessary during this cultural shift in work and meetings. But we can only thrive so long on standard 2D video conferencing.
In remote and virtual settings, 2D video conferencing only scratches the surface of what is possible.
In part one of this three-part blog series, we gave you the scoop on something new and exciting that could change video meetings and virtual events. That something is called Holographic TelePresence, and it’s a solution from ARHT Media that brings lifelike, interactive holographic display content to your event, room or computer screen. Holographic TelePresences creates a unique and highly engaging experience like no other.
To add to the excitement, ARHT’s new Virtual Global Stage (VGS)platform is a premium, digital experience. It offers the look and feel of a professional broadcast but streamed online. Through the Virtual Global Stage, presenters, panelists and lecturers around the world can participate from wherever they can access a capture studio.
Imagine the possibilities when you eliminate the need for a huge venue, expensive travel, and the physical gathering of attendees.
Unlike AR and VR, No Headset Is Needed With Holographic TelePresence
Do you know how hologram technology works? Below, we explain how ARHT Media does it.
Using proprietary technology, capture studios, and standard projection equipment, Holographic TelePresence “beams” presenters into one or multiple venues simultaneously. You may also hear the technology referred to as HoloPresence, short for “holographic presence.” Presenters can be located anywhere in the world — they just need the equipment and access to the platform via the web. Along with a new hologram presentation platform known as the Virtual Global Stage, Holographic TelePresence enables hybrid events — with some participants attending remotely and some attending live.
In other words, ARHT’s hologram events can run with all-remote participants/presenters, or with some live and some remote participants/presenters. Attendees and speakers choose how they participate — remotely or face to face — which empowers choice and flexibility. The value is that events can reach their largest possible audience. Organizations can also deliver a premium experience that goes well beyond the 2D video call.
To explain how Holographic TelePresence works, we’ll distinguish it from holograms, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Holographic TelePresence vs. Holograms:There is a distinction to be made between true holograms — 3D images produced in mid-air — and Holographic TelePresence. The “ARHT” (pronounced “art”) in ARHT Media stands for Augmented Reality Holographic Technology. It turns out that ARHT’s solution is not exactly equatable to a hologram, even though the final result appears as one. (Quick note: we will refer to the imagery produced by ARHT’s technology as “holograms;” just know we’re using that term as a general understanding of the final result — lifelike images that appear to the audience as holograms. We’re doing that for simplicity’s sake, not specifically to annoy the technology purists out there.)
Holographic TelePresence vs. AR and VR: How does ARHT’s solution differ from other new hologram technology, virtual reality and augmented reality? VR blocks out your ability to see and hear the real world — usually through a VR headset. AR uses a computer and, sometimes, a special headset or glasses to create digital objects and overlay them onto what you see in our physical world. Are you familiar with Pokémon GO? That’s also augmented reality.
Holographic TelePresence is a projection that uses an illusion effect powered by ARHT’s “HumaGram” technology. ARHT’s technique is more sophisticated than others you may know, like Pepper’s Ghost. Contrasting AR and VR to Holographic TelePresence, ARHT’s solution is neither augmented reality nor virtual reality alone. Holographic AR is steps beyond — no headset or special glasses needed.
With these distinctions and a new understanding, we’re ready to reveal the minimal equipment it takes to deploy ARHT’s hologram technology in any space.
Debunking the Technology
To virtually stage a room, Holographic TelePresence requires a more precise setup than video conferencing or a remote presentation system, but the concept and necessary equipment are pretty straightforward. ARHT’s setup is a combination of video shot in front of a backdrop, then projected on stage (or “on stage,” if being done virtually) onto a screen. So, the production needs a screen, as well as controlled lighting, to ensure the projection is bright and visible.
In an article with Inavate Magazine, Andrew Parry, an online learning video producer at Imperial College Business School, explained further. Elements to consider include the capture space (plus, distance between camera and subject), the height/positioning of the camera, and lighting. In the case of Imperial College’s virtual stage design, Parry explained, lights placed behind the subject backlit everything, including shoes. He added that there were also two lights arranged in front of the subject to improve the lighting of the human hologram on the other end.
Factors such as lighting and camera angle ensure that the final result — holographic display images on the screen — is an accurate representation in terms of body shape and dimensions. Thankfully, the AV industry is quite familiar with the principles of projection, making the execution of this technology, once learned, quite straightforward.
Below, you’ll see some behind-the-scenes photos of the setup in a recent hologram teleconference held live with ARHT’s hologram tech. In the interview, rAVe [PUBS] founder Gary Kayye (beaming in from North Carolina) and Almo’s Sam Taylor (beaming in from Maryland) are using ARHT’s Virtual Global Stage. To the audience, the two appeared virtually on the same “stage” with no editing, and no latency lag, having a real-time conversation about the emerging interactive hologram technology.
Will Hologram Technology Change Business in 2020?
While holograms have gotten plenty of attention in the media these past few years, many could be asking if this is just a trend. Will on-stage holograms like ARHT Media’s become big business? What can we expect from hologram technology in the future?
We believe any industry — higher education, live events, advertising and entertainment, healthcare, corporate spaces, meeting spaces, you name it — will benefit from 3D holographic display technology.
This is part one of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. Look for part two in the coming weeks.
Almo Professional A/V and ARHT Media, Inc. have an exciting new partnership and offering that could transform the landscape for digital meetings, events and hybrid/virtual learning. This new solution, in fact, could enhance almost any application in which a face-to-face interaction or presentation, prior to COVID-19, would have been the norm. The technology, developed by ARHT, is called Holographic TelePresence, and Almo is now the exclusive U.S. distributor for it. Through this solution, we can deliver a unique and highly engaging holographic display experience like never before.
What does this mean for you? Is interactive holographic display technology really something to pay attention to right now?
Holographic teleconferences are here to stay. ARHT’s 3D hologram meetings aren’t just intended to create a one-off “wow” moment — though they definitely do that, and it’s certainly a plus. The real value is when you find a technology platform that helps you overcome a bigger business issue. In the face of COVID-19 today, that bigger business issue is a lack of engagement with remote work, digital and virtual events, and (seemingly endless) conference calls.
The end goal is that participants, both online and in-person, want to use hologram media again and again. ARHT’s hologram tech makes this possible. The technology is ideal for panels, trainings in conference rooms, or even town halls. Hologram tech also amplifies product launches, hologram advertising, hologram teleconferences, hologram trade show displays, and more.
What Is Holographic TelePresence?
The solution, Holographic TelePresence, powers hybrid events that take place both online and offline simultaneously — possible alongside a new feature of the platform called the Virtual Global Stage (VGS). The technology, HoloPresence (or “holographic presence”), enables presenters to appear remotely, as holograms, in front of an audience to speak and interact with them in real-time.
A bit more about how it works:
Presenters appear in lifesize proportions with the capacity to interact with audience members (and the other panelists) virtually. As you saw from the above video, the virtual stage design is clean and to realistic proportions; plus, you can virtually stage a room to your liking.
The Virtual Global Stage is powered by the same proprietary transmission software in ARHT’s new hologram technology; it allows you to “beam in” multiple presenters into any virtual, online environment. The Virtual Global Stage feature is great for applications like large meetings, conferences and events.
Both live and prerecorded hologram appearances are supported for a range of applications — like elevated guest lectures, trade shows, and advertising and marketing campaigns.
This solution completely amplifies virtual interactions, online presentations, and hologram services in a way that your customer has never seen. With it, organizations, advertisers, and event marketers can reach a proportionately larger audience and deliver a premium hologram presentation that goes well beyond the 2D video call. Meanwhile, presenters benefit by being able to use key aspects of natural communication, like body language, to deliver a more engaging message and experience to attendees.
How Do Holograms Work on Stage?
What does the audience actually see when experiencing one of ARHT’s holograms? Proprietary HoloPresence displays — lifelike “holograms” that give a sense of presence and being in the same room as the hologram presenter. Those hologram presenters are realized through augmented reality. (Insider tip: the “ARHT” in ARHT Media stands for Augmented Reality Holographic Technology.)
Quick explanation: The word “hologram” has, perhaps confusingly, become synonymous with any 3D imagery. It’s worthwhile to make the distinction between ARHT’s hologram technology and various illusion effect techniques, like Pepper’s Ghost, used to achieve a 3D effect. Know that we’re using the term “hologram” as a ubiquitous understanding of the final result — lifelike images that appear to the audience as holograms, 3D images in mid-air.
Anyway, any AV arm wanting to add holographic technology to its wheelhouse should understand the different techniques to achieve a 3D effect on stage — and the costs of each. Take ARHT Media’s resurrection of James Naismith, for example. Here, Holographic TelePresence was even more innovative and cost-effective than projections using Pepper’s Ghost. Instead, ARHT’s photorealistic “HumaGram” technique is behind the effect.
If you need proof, Dr. David Lefevre, director of the Imperial College’s Edtech Lab and an ARHT Media client, gives it to you. Dr. Lefevre said to the BBC, “The problem with Pepper’s Ghost is that it can be intricate to set up and can cost about £150,000 to run an event.”
Referencing Holographic TelePresence, “This is simpler — you project upon a glass screen, and a backdrop behind it uses software to give it an illusion of depth. It runs at the low thousands each time, so for the first time universities can afford it,” Dr. Lefevre added.
Low Cost, High Reward: Why Now Is The Perfect Time for 3D Holographic Display Tech
What do hologram solutions do that traditional video doesn’t?
First, there’s a wow factor you don’t get with 2D video conferencing. While holograms seem to be a part of our everyday lives in film, it’s not every day that you actually see this type of presentation technology as such an attainable reality.
Viewers also benefit from more lifelike content, too. In a classroom, for example, presentations from human holograms — whether a guest lecturer or students’ everyday professor — help aid in retention and engagement. The more we can replicate real-life interactivity in our virtual spaces, the more it’ll be embraced.
Even though we all miss that in-person interaction, it is no longer the only way we do business. The mass deployment of video conferencing solutions in early 2020 was a big step forward for AV — but video chat and 2D video conference software only scratches the surface of what’s possible. Holographic TelePresence brings prime-time to all of us and completely enhances the way we interact virtually.
This time last year I was a few months into my role as Business Development Manager (“BDM”) here at Almo ProAV. I had spent the previous 6 years with an AV manufacturer, and we thought it would be an interesting opportunity for me to share some of my insights from seeing the Infocomm show through the lens of a distributor. This year would have been my 2nd show as an Almo BDM, and the plan was for me to do another post-show recap. Well, obviously a lot of plans have changed in 2020. The Infocomm show went virtual as a response to COVID-19, and for the first time we got to see how an event of Infocomm’s size and scope would translate into a virtual space. Here are some of my thoughts.
The Amount of options felt overwhelming – In a good way
If there’s one thing that felt like it wasn’t missing from Infocomm this year, it was the quantity and quality of things to do and places to see. I’ve been to 6 of the live shows now, and at each one I always had a bit of FOMO throughout the entire event. With trainings happening upstairs, events happening in booths throughout the day, and with so much space to explore – it’s easy to miss something good. One feels like they have to pick and choose where to spend their time because one cannot possibly see and do everything. With Infocomm Connected, that feeling was still very much present. There were trainings happening pretty much all day, and with overlapping schedules in some cases. I found myself having to build my daily itinerary each morning to make sure that I could get to as much of the content that I was interested in, and that wasn’t even including trying to carve out time to visit presenter’s microsites and more.
It’s very Impressive How Quickly So Many Companies Have Been Able to Adjust
When you think about the wheels that were in motion for AVIXA (and really any company) in Feb 2020 and how those wheels had to be so suddenly turned in a different direction – it’s mind-blowing that there was even a virtual show to begin with. For many, Infocomm planning starts in the fall of the previous year. So to be able to re-direct a show of that scale with that energy and put something together in a few months is truly awe-inspiring. Almo went through a similar experience in coming up with the virtual E4 Evolution show this spring, and I can’t say enough for how hard everyone had to work to put that together. I can’t think of any presentation I saw that didn’t have the “current challenges of our COVID-19 world” front and center. New products have been developed, new marketing strategies rolled and new ideas for solving new challenges are ready to go. No one thought we would be here 5 months ago, but none-the-less we’re back to doing what people in AV have always done, which is figure out a way to make it work and make it better.
Nothing Beats the Real Thing
For all of the things that Infocomm did well, it still felt like something was missing. This is by no means a knock on the Infocomm Connected, so much as it is a credit to the standard that the Infocomm live events created. There were some fun features, like playing music between presentations and some fun transitions we moved through the day. But for me, nothing beats the lights and the pounding music and the 50 foot LED displays that you get from a traditional Infocomm event. Audio Visual, more than most other industries, exists to provide people with experiences. It’s these experiences that drive the manufacturers in the industry to build the best products. We can all talk about the great things that various products do, but the real magic is in seeing the finished product of a fully built out AV system. This is my way of saying that Infocomm Connected was a tremendous success and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how virtual tradeshows evolve from here….BUT, I’m really looking forward to walking the show floor in 2021, if possible. There’s nothing better.