3. ClearOne Introduces VoIP Tabletop Conference Phones
ClearOne Communications introduced the latest addition to its tabletop conferencing product line, the new MAXAttach IP and MAX IP VoIP tabletop conference phones.
These products are based on the industry-standard SIP signaling protocol. Up until now, users have had a limited choice for adding high-quality audio conference phones to VoIP telephony systems. With the introduction of MAXAttach IP and MAX IP, customers with SIP-based VoIP systems can now enjoy the outstanding audio clarity and superior room coverage that ClearOne's analog MAX wired and wireless products have provided for several years, at a price point well below the competition.
A key feature that sets the MAXAttach IP and MAX IP apart from other competitive offerings is the ability to daisy-chain multiple phones together. This unique capability provides multiple speakers, multiple microphones, and multiple dial pads distributed throughout the room for unmatched coverage. Customers can now easily cover conferencing spaces ranging from small conference rooms up to large rooms with long or U-shaped table configurations.
The MAXAttach IP comes with two conference phones, and is also available in bundles with an additional one or two phones. Also, the phones included with any of the MAXAttach IP bundles can be split up and used in separate rooms with the addition of an extra base unit, which results in an even lower cost per phone.
In addition, these VoIP conference phones offer the advanced audio signal processing technologies that deliver crystal-clear audio to participants on both ends of the call, and include full-duplex audio, distributed echo cancellation, noise cancellation, first microphone priority, and automatic gain and level controls.
4. Panasonic to Launch Signage Content Management Software
Panasonic announced the company will sell its own digital signage content management software, Nmstage. The scheduling package allows control over a range of content - including standard definition video, Flash, JPEG, HTML, PowerPoint and Internet Explorer-based files.
Features of the software include scheduling content to individual displays on a network, remote monitoring and the ability to display real time content such as tickers, news, weather and offers.
5. Digital Projection Developing 1080 Projector
Digital Projection Inc announced the company will introduce a 1080p projector in the first quarter. It uses the new.95" 1920 X 1080 resolution DMD chipset from Texas Instruments. The dVision 1080p will produce an estimated light output of up to 2500 lumens, utilizing dual 7segment color wheels. This will be one of the first DLP-based 1080P displays to hit the market.
6. More Than 250,000 Classrooms Now Equipped With SMART Board Interactive Whiteboards
SMART Technologies Inc. announced that more than 250,000 classrooms worldwide are now equipped with SMART Board interactive whiteboards. This marks a significant 100,000-unit (67 percent) increase in classroom installations since January 2005, making the award-winning SMART Board interactive whiteboard the most widely installed interactive whiteboard in the world. Many school jurisdictions have standardized on SMART Board interactive whiteboards because they enhance teacher productivity and improve student learning outcomes. More than 7.35 million students worldwide are actively learning with SMART products in classrooms spanning every Local Authority in the UK, every U.S. state and more than 75 countries.
7. Panasonic Develops 103-Inch 1080p Plasma Display Panel
Panasonic developed a prototype of a 103-inch plasma display panel with 1080p (progressive) HDTV resolution. The prototype can deliver more than two million pixels (1,920 x 1,080) of performance.
Panasonic overcame technical problems normally associated with plasma panels over 100 inches by developing a new rib and phosphor for these super large panels. The 103-inch 1080p plasma panel, equivalent to four 50-inch panels in size, features consistent and uniform discharge, says the company.
8. Lux Outdoor Debuts 26" LCD Water-Resistant Television Display
Lux Outdoor announced availability of its 26" Lux LCD ARIIS Display. The 26" television monitor is available with a bundled outdoor radio and DVD player, a Microsoft outdoor media center extender system, or as a stand-alone media component.
Built from marine grade materials, the Lux LCD ARIIS Display is designed to provide premium LCD images in unpredictable outdoor environments. Designed with water resistant zero-glare glass, the Lux LCD ARIIS Display delivers crisp, colorful images as part of an outdoor media system.
9. BenQ Ships Small Wireless Projector
BenQ is shipping a projector that weighs less than three pounds. The DLP-based CP120 has 1500 ANSI lumens and a contrast of 2000:1 and has automatic keystone correction. It also uses a fifth color wheel for better color reproduction.
10. New Year Resolutions
You've been hearing how high definition broadcast is on the way in and if you're like many, you're likely confused by it all. If your business has displays that carry broadcast signals, such as sports bars, airports, or even the lobby display showing the weather or local news, you're probably also worried. How and where will you ever learn enough to make the right decisions before analog HD goes dark in 2007?
The good news is you don't have to learn it all - we're here to help you make the transition from analog HD to digital HD, making sure every decision you make from now until next year's switch is a sound, protected investment.
So, this issue, we thought we would explain a bit about the differences in resolutions.
Analog, the format we've been used to for decades, is what will eventually no longer be available. An analog display can only display standard definition - no enhanced or high definition. The next generation of displays were digital, also known at DTV. These can display progressive scan DVD and usually HDTV as well, with the right connectors.
Enhanced definition displays can display high definition, but they have a lower pixel count, so while they can show the HD, the resolution won't be maxed out. The high definition displays can, of course, show anything at the maximum resolution available from the source.
Regular standard definition programming is usually a resolution of 480, meaning there are 480 visible lines on the display. High definition is either 720 or 1080, with 1080p (progressive scan) yields the best picture resolution of them all.
But before you call us and ask us for 1080p displays, note that 1080p content is quite rare - no networks have yet announced 1080p broadcasts. We will likely get you the best quality picture for a lot less cash by choosing a lower resolution technology that will handle all current formats.
Another fact to note: not all HDTVs are alike. Even high-resolution displays may not display the entire 1080i (never mind 1080p). Displays have a fixed number of pixels so actually getting a 1080i picture will depend on the display's native resolution.
Another consideration in choosing your HD display is whether or not you need a built-in tuner. The built-in tuners, called integrated HDTVs, let you receive broadcasts without special boxes. The HDTV-ready and HDTV-compatible displays can be made HD by connecting an HD tuner, a cable box or a satellite box, to get the high definition resolution.
This is an important consideration for you - if your display already uses a set-top box for cable or satellite, and if your provider offers those in HD and has HD programming, you won't need to worry about the integrated tuner. If not, then it's something to consider. AND, if the display may be used in a different manner in the future, i.e., moved to a different location after you get new equipment, we may suggest that you prepare for those changes by getting a display with the built-in tuner.
One of the best matches for current technology and commercial use is the DVD. DVDs can be used in lobbies to demonstrate new products or show a presentation about the organization. They can be used in any retail signage application and of course, for entertainment, training, exhibitions and staging. A progressive scan DVD player with an HDTV display looks fantastic, and is often one of the most important reasons for investing in HD displays.
No matter the application, if you use displays, you're going to need digital and quite possibly, high definition. Not sure what you have now will be ready for the digital age? For a quick idea, check to see if your display has a DVI or HDMI with HDCP connector then check the native resolution of the display. If it has DVI or HDMI and at least 720 resolution, you're probably ready for anything coming in the next few years.
The best bet is to call us. We'll be sure your digital transition goes, and looks, smooth.
11. Top 10 Mistakes of Do-it-Yourself AV
Part 1 of 2.
We're often called into companies after someone decides to try installing AV systems on their own. We don't mean to say there is nothing at all that the inside IT manager can do on his or her own. But the fact that we're called in to amend what was just done is evidence that sometimes, it's just better to call a pro in the first place.
In hopes to save you both time and money, here are the top ten mistakes we often see with do-it-yourself AV.
10. Selecting the cheapest components.
Wow, that $650 projector I found on the Internet sounds like quite a bargain. And it just may be perfunctory for a meeting of two in a small office. But usually, trying to take a bargain projector into the presentation area will likely fail to deliver a disired outcome. The inexpensive projectors won't likely have the brightness, resolution and contrast ratio needed to display a professional image.
9. Lack of integration.
Companies spend all that money on installing local area networks then don't make maximum use of it with networkable AV products. Did you know that any piece of AV equipment can be monitored and controlled from a central location these days? That helps with theft prevention, saving product life, and you can even receive emails sent from the component when a lamp or other parts needs replacing.
You also want to integrate equipment with a control system. Today's presentation room should never have three or four different remote controls. A control system gives you a way to control from one touchpanel your equipment, lighting, shades and blinds, audio and any other connected function. This makes presentations run far smoother than bumbling around trying to turn off lights, lower shades, turn on audio, and mess with different remotes trying to guess which remote is for which device. A control panel makes the presenter, and you, look good, look professional.
8. Not matching equipment to room.
Presentation spaces vary vastly in size, ambient lighting, seating, and sound. Matching the equipment to the room is one of the trickier areas of expertise we provide, but it's something we know well. If a do-it-yourselfer decides to try to equip the room, the dangers are a projector too low in brightness that can't be seen at all, or only seen from certain seats, a plasma screen that can't be seen in high ambient light, an LCD that hurts the eyes in the dark and inaudible sound that echoes off the walls.
7. Wrong projection screens.
Projection screens are not all alike. They have a feature called gain, which measures the amount of reflection the screen surface remits. In some cases, we want high gain; in others, low. The size of the screen, too, matters. A screen too large for the seating area will have people craning their necks upward, resulting in cramped necks. A screen too small can't be seen comfortably. Also, screens come in several different colors to help the projected image look its best. Without taking all these factors into consideration, a screen selection is likely going to be less than optimal.
6. Wrong seating.
You may, yourself have attended meetings where you sat so far on the side of the room that you couldn't see what was on the projection screen. Or you may have been so far back that you could see OR hear. Or you may have had to maneuver past 25 seats to get to the only seat left in the middle because no middle aisle was provided. You may have also found yourself just underneath a very loud speaker, holding your ears in agony during a presentation.
Seating arrangements as they relate to the AV equipment aren't really simple. We even sometimes use software to help us design the best seating arrangements for your particular situation.
To be continued...
12. When Meetings Matter - Big-Time
Part 1 of 2
Once a year, or perhaps only once every ten years, your organization finds an opportunity, a reason, has a significant anniversary or a major change that requires pulling out all the stops for your internal audience. It might be the launch of an amazing new product, or the first time your East Coast and West Coast sales reps will meet each other. Maybe all your various divisions and departments will come together to learn about a grand re-structuring, or to be told that a generous buyout will make their stock options worth a small fortune.
But the point is, the elements of a large meeting go well above and beyond the basics for a successful presentation. And by "large," we're not necessarily measuring by number of attendees, but by the importance of the message. Top-notch audio and visual production isn't enough when the outcomes you want to inspire from the event can seriously impact the success of your organization for the near future, and even beyond.
Whether you're the point person in charge, or a key player on the planning committee, a large meeting (with 200 or 2,000 people) brings with it the chance to impress, inform, and solidify the commitment and loyalty of your audience. This type of meeting takes a lot of work by a lot of people, and there is much to consider.
Scheduling and Venue
Check the calendar and select tentative dates that don't conflict with other events, conferences, or seasonal "crunch" to which your group is subject. Starting to plan even six months out is not too early, particularly since locations and venues are often booked that far ahead. Assuming you plan to go off-site, and many attendees will be required to travel, you'll want to maximize their energy and attention by scheduling equal amounts of "business," recreation and some personal time.
Discuss what type of atmosphere or environment your audience would enjoy. A golf resort and spa? A big city hotel or museum auditorium? A cruise ship? A lodge in the mountains?
You may wish to hire an event planner and/or group travel consultant to bring you ideas, work with your committee and coordinate the logistics of making sure people get smoothly "from here to there."
Meetings today are so important to the hospitality industry that it should not be difficult to identify a venue you like for the size of your group. They may have some equipment available, but plan to take us, your system integrator, along to make sure you get the right, and enough, of the AV devices you need.
To be continued...