Each Spring and Fall Almo’s E4 Tour swings through two major cities and brings along with it an entire day’s worth of CTS accredited educational courses and gets roughly 40 of the top manufacturers in the professional audio video industry all in one room showcasing their newest product offerings.
As a technology professional and a self-proclaimed “AV Geek” these events are always exciting to me as I am often one of the first people to see new and emerging technology. Sometimes it’s electronics, or perhaps software, or even bent metal making the installation of said technology easier and more efficient. There were a handful of stand-out products that were featured at our Fall shows this year that are worth checking out.
1.) ATEN VM3909H – 9×9 HDMI HDBaseT-Lite Matrix Switch: Remember way back when where the number of hot dogs in a package did not always match the number of buns in a package? I realize it is a silly reference, but try doing a 3×3 video wall with an 8×8 matrix switch. The folks at ATEN were mindful of this when they introduced this 9×9 HDMI matrix switch earlier this year. An addition to the 9 HDMI outputs it has 9 HDBaseT Lite outputs allowing the switch to be located up to 70m away from the video wall using the appropriate HDBaseT receivers. A simple front panel control and GUI interface to create simple video wall layouts round out the feature set of this Red Dot Award winning product.
2.) Chief SYS Projector Mount System Series: The engineers at Chief really did their homework on this one keeping the installer in mind with features not found in other mounting systems. This system not only saves time on the install but is aesthetically pleasing. Installers will love the fact that the mount and column come pre-assembled and even the box is designed so that the parts needed first are packaged on top. Micro adjustments for perfect alignment can be made without any tools and the 0”-12” adjustable column has separate cable management channels for both high and low voltage cabling.
3.) tvONE ONErack – Universal Rack Mounting System for Small Devices: While small devices such as HDBaseT transmitters, format converters, small audio products and more are convenient because of their size they can quickly make a mess of your equipment rack since in many cases they are not specifically designed to be mounted or secured into a traditional 19” rack space. Not only that, but they also generally have large wall-wart type power supplies which can clutter power distribution units within the rack. Available in 4RU, 5RU, and 6RU chassis models, this system converts randomly sized small AV devices into slide-in modules while consolidating power for all devices within the system. An optional active cooling system is available for situations where you are populating a large number of devices.
4.) Atlona AT-UHD-HDVS-300-KIT – Soft Codec Conferencing System: As more and more companies adopt PC-based conferencing codecs like Skype, WebEx, & GoToMeeting in place of traditional hardware based codecs for smaller conference rooms and huddle spaces the need for external USB microphones and cameras has increased with the desire for quality meetings. In order to accomplish this typical systems require AV extenders, USB extenders, USB hubs, multiple remotes, plus all of the required cables. Atlona’s system accomplishes this with just two devices and a single category cable. This unit also is a 4 input auto sensing AV switcher and provides automatic display control via CEC, IP, and RS-232 allowing users to start meetings quickly and easily.
5.) Almo CONTROL – Control System & DSP Programming Services: Almo got into offering services two years ago with the introduction of digital signage content creation and since then have added services for installation as well as telecom services. Almo CONTROL is the most recent introduction and was launched at the E4 Fall tour this year. With Almo CONTROL integrators can potentially take on more projects with access to additional programming resources, or where they have expertise in one system but need resources for another. Our programmers have been providing outstanding control system programming and system commissioning support services since the year 2000.
With all of the changes in our industry and constantly evolving technology I look forward to see what lies ahead in 2017.
Screens, Screens, Screens, yes I know, what a boring topic!
Wait! no it’s really NOT!
There are plenty of different and exciting things to talk about in regards to screens and great opportunities to solve problems for your customers!
I just reviewed some information on Da-Lite’s Wireline Advantage screen system and there are some exciting things to talk about!
The “Wireline Advantage” screen system is an innovative design that actually ENHANCES the architecture of the room instead of covering it up and hiding it!
This drop down screen system uses super thin steel cables (up to 29’ long!) instead of a solid black drop to lower the screen for viewing and as a result, almost invisibly suspends the viewing area, and ONLY the viewing area at an appropriate height for the audience. In addition, the screen housing itself can also be easily recessed into the ceiling to truly make the entire screen assembly almost completely invisible when not in use.
PERFECT for any installation into Exhibit halls, Corporate board rooms, Museums, anywhere the architecture itself is important and the customer wants it to remain unaltered and unobscured…..
The Wireline Advantage is available in both HDTV 16:9 and Wide 16:10 options in several different surface gain options and a TON of different sizes up to a whopping 120” x 226”
I’ve seen hundreds of screens from over a dozen+ different suppliers over the years however the Da-Lite folks really got this one right! It’s a beautiful product and fits a real need for many different venues. They’ve even included sliding installation brackets to fit almost any install, and both the ceiling trim and screen trim is already in place.
When most people in the Pro AV industry hear ViewSonic, they typically think small cost effective projectors or flat panels. What many people don’t realize is that besides the large flat panels, touch screens, laser projectors, etc., ViewSonic also offers products that provide a full solution for your Pro AV project. For that reason, I’d like to introduce you to…
The top 5 things you didn’t know ViewSonic carries:
Ok, technically this might fall under the “display” heading, but it’s definitely different than the average display. This free-standing digital ePoster is perfect for retail applications, movie theaters, and trade shows. With a built-in media player, optional touch interface, slim design and various inputs, it’s as versatile as it is attractive.
2. Media Players
A few display companies carry media players that work with their displays, but ViewSonic goes above and beyond with their choices. They range from the easy to use, SMIL based NMP642-W with HDMI input, to the Intel i7 based NMP712-N, so no matter what digital signage application you have, ViewSonic has the media player to fit your needs.
3. Thin Clients / Zero clients
With both thin and zero client options available, ViewSonic offers solutions that both the CIO and CFO will love. With both options, dealers are able to deliver more to their clients than just what’s in the boardroom.
4. Wireless solutions
The Solstice POD (NMP250-WL and NMP250-WU) offers a turnkey solution that easily connects a display or projector and enables multiple users to simultaneously share content from a rang of devices (laptops, tablets, or smartphones).
The ViewSync 3 Wireless Presentation Gateway enable instant streaming of 1080p content from multiple devices to a single projector or display.
5. Peripherals and Accessories
Projects aren’t complete without some essentials, including mounts, cables, HDBaseT transmitters and receivers, and even cable management. Dealers spend time looking to various manufacturers to provide those solutions, when ViewSonic offers them all. So next time you’re looking for a manufacturer that you can lean on to provide the full solution, look no further than ViewSonic.
My impressions 60 days after adding Barco to my Business Development Manager responsibilities: there is much more to Barco than ClickShare and projectors. This includes video walls, image processors, video switchers, and beyond. Similar to ClickShare, design elegance and sophistication is consistent. Yet, recent price moves and promotions in some categories keep the products within reach of their target markets.
ClickShare is still the most popular Barco solution at Almo. If you have not seen ClickShare yet, check out this video (1:15). Customer’s love the simplicity of wireless screen sharing, knowing meetings will run smoothly, and that ClickShare does not require connection to a corporate network (although it is an option). As a bonus, the savings compared to a matrix switch, scaler, and table connectivity are significant.
Since ClickShare creates its own wireless connection in the Wi-Fi band, the integration questions that come up the most relate to managing multiple units in a crowded Wi-Fi space. There a numerous successful installations with literally hundreds of ClickShare units in the same facility and that work glitch free. Much has been written on the subject including white papers and user guides, but some of the high points include:
- ClickShare allows you to manually set the Wi-Fi band, channel, and power of each unit. This allows you to alternate channels between adjacent spaces, dial back power if necessary, and minimize potential interference in a crowded wireless space.
- Change the default SSID and name of each unit to something logical (i.e. the room name).
- Room-specific connection instructions (with SSID) appear on the welcome screen – reducing questions on how to connect.
There are flexible security options making it easy to share content while keeping malicious outside content from hijacking a meeting.
If you have not experienced ClickShare first hand, or would like to dive deeper into configuration options, contact your Almo representative for a 21-day demo loaner unit. Nothing compares to first-hand experience.
I’m an aspiring techie. As a marketing manager in the Pro AV channel I marvel daily at what you guys and gals (girl power!) can do. While I’m at home battling my wireless printer you’re out there day after day beaming Cecil the Lion onto the Empire State Building in New York City. Well, maybe you don’t do that every day, but what you do on a daily basis is still quite impressive.
I was a high school student in the 90’s. (You Gotta Fight! For Your Right! To Partyyyy!) We had the old school projectors that shined the lesson written on multiple sheets of clear plastic onto a pull down screen, or even a cement wall in some classrooms. Teachers would walk away with colorful smudges on their hands from the ink they were using to illustrate their points. Imagine how Mr. Flammond would teach me the DNA sequence of an amphibian these days!
But, I digress. I haven’t walked the halls of BHS since back when we were sporting Members Only Jackets and fluffy Love Eric socks, but I see now what you the installers and integrators are putting inside those classrooms. And I’m downright jealous. I want to go back and learn the way children of today are learning!
And education isn’t the only way you are changing lives. Making meetings more productive with amazing technology like Sharp AQUOS BOARDS and the InFocus Mondopads and Barco Clickshare in boardrooms and conference rooms is changing the way companies think and do business. Even Almo Pro AV!
Don’t even get me started on retail right now. I just can’t. Because if I start talking about that LG Dual-Sided Curved OLED display and how many pair of shoes that thing could sell me I may have to run to the Galleria Mall immediately.
The point is… the dealers and resellers and installers and integrators that trust Almo Pro AV with their technology needs are pretty impressive folks. And I’m going to be lucky enough to meet some of them in person this coming Tuesday in Dallas, Texas, where our E4 AV Tour makes its last stop in 2016. If you’re close-by, come check it out. You can register here. There are classes and other educational opportunities for CTS Renewal Credits and a super-cool experience by Samsung of their outdoor displays that Paris Hilton would actually describe as “that’s Hot”.
Yes, I’m going because it’s my job. But don’t think I won’t be walking away all geeked out and excited over the technology we’re showcasing. And when I come home I’m going to beat that pesky wireless printer!
Hi! I’m Diana.
I started working at Almo a few months ago as a Graphic Designer. Naturally, I am in front of monitors all day, every day and depending on the project/s sometimes I need to have more than two screens open at the same time. Not too long ago I had three monitors, with real “classy” stands, taking up a lot of space on my desktop. I’m in a bit of a minimalist phase, so I wasn’t really feeling it.
A few months ago, when Almo Acquired IAVI , my entire setup changed. I was given a brand new Apple laptop and I decided to only keep one of my old monitors. Although it was a really nice monitor with a good resolution for a visual artist, it was a bit too small for the type of workspace I actually needed. I was going to be forced to bring in another monitor and I was not happy about it.
Luckily for me, and in perfect timing, Almo offered me an NEC 27” 4K Monitor (MultiSync EA275UHD). First of all, you don’t have to be a genius to set it up. Just take it out of the box, plug it in and adjust the height. Second, it’s big enough to serve as two monitors without taking up so much space on my desk, which I LOVE! Lastly but definitely not least, the resolution on this monitor is insane! The color accuracy is terrific and the quality is just beautiful.
Look at me setup now!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this monitor to any Graphic Designer or Digital Artist out there looking to move from 1080p to 4K with a bigger workspace. It’s a keeper!