Last week a friend and I went to check out Taco Tuesday at a new hotspot down by my favorite watering hole in Lauderdale by the Sea.  I expected to enjoy dinner and a drink surrounded by sunshine and music at the open-air bar.  I did NOT expect the chance to geek out after hours with an AV/how to create stress-free collaboration chat, but that’s just what happened.

He’s a sales rep for commercial grade office furniture, and had a big meeting coming up that week.  “You work in PowerPoint, don’t you?” he asked. Ah-ha!  An ulterior motive!  I fully expected him to ask for help with his transitions or animation.  He followed up with, “how do you show your PowerPoint on a TV in a conference room?”  I ignored my initial instinct to correct him on the term “TV” and instead reveled at the chance to talk shop.  He rattled off the familiar complaints about meetings we are all familiar with. People unengaged and even checked out. Meetings can never start on time because it takes too long to set up presentations and project to the displays or screen.  And on and on.

Well!  Isn’t this right up my alley?  As the resident Barco ClickShare expert for the Florida office I am a big fan of the simple technology that makes sharing content and collaborating easy for anyone in any meeting.  I was more than happy to launch into the features and benefits of ClickShare, and how Barco has been changing how meetings are conducted for the past few years with full BYOD support and zero obstacles for downloading software.  IT departments pretty much anywhere can jump on board thanks to the 3 levels of security built into the technology.  And now that they have the CSE-200+ and CSE-800 that does touch back, annotation, and blackboarding for touch panels, the sky’s the limit when it comes to presenting and collaboration.

My friend was intrigued. One device that can easily alleviate all the meeting issues he described?  Not a mythical unicorn!

Unfortunately the company my friend was calling on did not have a ClickShare-enabled conference room, so he was left tethered to the display via an unattractive HDMI cord draped from the conference room table.  Great for impromptu limbo parties, but cumbersome and awkward for presentations and sales pitches.  Fortunately, he still landed the sale.

If he keeps inviting me for dinner on Taco Tuesday I’ll invite him into our office for a personal demo.  In the meantime, he’s going to have to keep wowing his customers with his winning personality

“Hiding the unseen: Spreading the word, while remaining silent”

The cat is finally out of the bag.  After an extended period under NDA, we can now start saying the word “UniSee” without using hushed tones, closing doors, or looking over our shoulders.  For those of you that missed the launch, Barco’s UniSee leverages multiple innovations that change how we install, service, maintain, and even see LCD video walls.

I first saw a sneak peak of the UniSee concept during a closed-door meeting at InfoComm 2017.  In this meeting, I witnessed:


Plus, UniSee includes Barco’s Sense X automatic calibration providing visual consistency throughout the wall – even as displays age at different rates – ensuring the installation looks as good in year five as it did on day one.

Yes, we’ve all heard similar stories before (yawn) – but this was different (yeah!)
By far, this was my #1 highlight from InfoComm. 🙂  But I had to remain silent. 🙁

We had a more significant challenge in that we had to generate attendees for the October product launch without letting anyone know about the product itself.  Barco and our marketing department, talented as they are, came up with some great ideas.  Part of this included mailing a “teaser tool” to a limited group of qualified video wall integrators – garnering some industry attention in itself.


[Did you get yours?  We have a very limited number left.  Shoot me an email if you are interested in one of these future collectors’ items, and we’ll see what we can dig up.]

However, even with the teaser, we still needed to get people to attend the launch of a product that we were not able to discuss.  While trying to figure this out, I asked our sales team for the names of their top videowall customers without an explanation.  This caused some curiosity.  When they get curious, they ask questions.  When you tell them that you can’t answer the question, they become more curious…. and this curiosity starts to build momentum.  They were thrilled when they eventually learned this was for Barco.  They know that we are the world’s largest distributor for Barco and that anything Barco is about to launch under NDA has got to be mega cool…. so they lit the fires of enthusiasm and integrators started registering in large numbers for the event.

To paraphrase Gerben Van den Berg of Barco on the day of the launch; before 1492, many people thought the world was flat.  Then someone decided to set sail, challenge our reality and changed our understanding of the world forever.  Barco set out on a new course for videowalls with UniSee that changes our industry going forward.

It’s liberating to finally talk about UniSee openly and to share my excitement.  If you have not done so already, take a look at UniSee and Discover the Unseen.

Choosing the right ClickShare for your Business

One of the questions that comes up frequently is what are the differences between the three current models of ClickShare and which one should I choose.

Below is a chart that lines up the features…

ClickShare Product Detail

The most common difference that jumps out when looking at the chart is the number of supported buttons and simultaneously supported images.  Extra buttons and trays are available for all units, so don’t let the number of included buttons limit the decision process.  However, if we  look a little deeper, there are some less obvious and potentially more important elements to consider:

If users will have a 4K display, then consider the CSC-1.  Even if they will not share 4K content, the CSC-1 allows users to show up to fou
r 1080p sources simultaneously at their native resolution on a single 4K display.  (If end users share spreadsheets or other visually detailed content, then this alone may be enough reason to move to a 4K display.)  No external scaler required.

On the other end of the spectrum is the budget conscious CS-100 which is great for small businesses and huddle spaces.  Many companies choose to move up to the CSE-200 for Airplay compatibility and to allow two users on screen at the same time.  For consistency in the end user experience, companies also tend to go with CSE-200 in huddle spaces when a CSC-1 is also used in larger spaces.  Both the CSE-200 and CSC-1 allow for network integration, while the CS-100 does not.  This combination of price and features has made the CSE-200 the most popular unit, followed closely by the CSC-1.

In addition to our demo loaner program, there is also a dealer demo purchase program that allows integrators to by one of each unit at a discount.  Both options are a great way to help you and your customer evaluate options.  As always, feel free to contact me or your Almo rep if you have questions.

Much more to Barco than ClickShare and Projectors

barcocsc-4My 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 Ready to Geek Out

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.

old school projectorI 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!

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