“The AV industry is changing,” said Jeff Singer, marketing communications director for Crestron. “We have to redefine what AV is.”
Singer was speaking at the 2010 InfoComm exhibition, North America’s largest audio-visual (AV) technology show, held last month in Las Vegas. He was referring to how the lines between traditionally defined categories of products and services in the AV field are blurring—and never has that been more apparent than at this year’s show.
Unless they hired a systems integrator, for instance, school technology buyers used to deal with one vendor for classroom audio products, a separate vendor for digital signage, and yet other manufacturers for projectors and displays. At InfoComm 2010, however, it was possible to find education technology solutions that combined classroom audio with emergency alert, projectors with interactive pen displays, and even podiums with digital signage.
In other words, everything is now interrelated—and it’s all running on a single, IP-based platform.
To make it easier to manage multiple AV systems through a single interface, Crestron has introduced a new control system platform, called Power of 3. “It’s designed like an IT backbone, rather than an AV control system,” Singer said, comparing it to a computer’s operating system—giving users more speed, memory, and user rights in running their systems.
More importantly, Singer added, it can run multiple programs (up to 10) on the same platform simultaneously, independently from each other. That means while you’re making a change to one system, all other systems continue to operate seamlessly in the background.
If you’re a school IT director, you “can’t afford to have the security system or the HVAC system go down while you’re updating your digital signage,” Singer explained.
At InfoComm 2010, education technology buyers also learned how projectors are becoming more interactive, and how a growing number of content providers are releasing video clips and simulations for teaching in 3D. A number of vendors, meanwhile, displayed solutions aimed at easing the deployment of classroom technology.
Here’s a roundup of our InfoComm 2010 coverage…
Flexibility was a key theme at InfoComm 2010, where a number of companies demonstrated products intended to help schools deploy education technology more easily.
At last year’s InfoComm, the big story was the emergence of 3D projectors for education. But while several companies demonstrated projectors that could display three-dimensional images with the help of special glasses, at the time there was not a lot of educational content available to justify an investment in 3D projectors for the classroom.
Fast forward to this year’s conference, and that has changed. At least a dozen companies now offer three-dimensional learning content, according to industry sources, and some of the major players in the educational video market are rumored to be developing 3D content as well.
A new classroom product that combines sound amplification, lecture capture, and emergency alert capabilities in a single system could have a big impact on the safety of K-12 and higher-education classrooms.
Earlier this year, Epson and Boxlight made news when they introduced projectors that can turn virtually any surface into an interactive whiteboard. Now, Texas Instruments has developed a similar ability for projectors that use its Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology, while taking this ability one step further: TI’s new technology gives users the ability to interact with a projector’s beam of light from anywhere in the room—on virtually any surface—without the need for cumbersome calibration.
Other news from InfoComm 2010 exhibitors included new developments in digital signage, interactive whiteboards and displays, and video capture and editing tools—including a video “control room in a briefcase.”