3. New Wireless Conference Phone From Polycom
Polycom announced the SoundStation2W, a table-top wireless conference phone designed to compete with the ClearOne MAX. What‘s great about this new wireless phone from Polycom and ClearOne‘s wireless Max phone is the ability to just carry it from room to room and set up a conference call anywhere, in both cases up to 150 feet from the base station.
Polycom says the SoundStation2W has enhanced voice quality compared to the original SoundStation, a secure 2.4 GHz technology with voice encryption, up to 24 hours of talk time, and the ability to dial and manage the call through a cell phone.
In addition, it has digital spread spectrum and additional 64 bit voice encryption for security, and new on the SoundStation2W is an "Aux out" feature on the phone itself rather than on the base station. Recording can only be done from the phone, so no one can be listening in or recording from the remote base station.
Pricing is to be announced upon shipping, by the end of August.
4. D-Link's New AirPlus-G Delivers Wireless Presentations via 802.11g
D-Link announced the AirPlus G Wireless Presentation Gateway (DPG-2000W), which gives high-speed wireless delivery of presentations from the computer to projectors, LCD panels, monitors or other VGA-compatible devices. A nice feature of the AirPlus G is that multiple presenters in the room can use the high-speed wireless connection with just one click of the mouse. Also nice is that you can use it even if your computer has only 802.11b.
D-Link says the Presentation Gateway is compatible with virtually all presentation projectors, supporting multiple resolution settings up to 1024x768 pixels and up to 24-bit color depth. Another plus is "plug and play" installation, which features instant IP assignment and configuration.
5. Mitsubishi Announces Sub 5-lb. DLP XGA Projector
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics announced the XD70U, a DLP projector specified at 2,000 ANSI lumens, XGA (1024 x 768) resolution and a nice 2000:1 contrast ratio.
The company says it also offers longer lamp life than most, at 3,000 hours.
6. New Fiber Optic System to Transmit RGB and Stereo Audio
Communications Specialties showed a new fiber optic link that transmits high-resolution RGB video (up to WXGA) and stereo audio over one single mode (or multimode) fiber optic core. The Pure Digital Fiberlink 7220 Series works with any type of VGA, SVGA, XGA, WXGA and HDTV display and operates at a single wavelength with all digital processing and transmission. The company says it requires no adjustments, equalization of de-skewing and has no signal degradation over the transmission path.
Using an HD-15 (VGA) connector for the RGBHV input and output, the Fiberlink 7220 is available as a complete kit, for a "ready to install" solution. The kit includes transmitter, receiver, power supplies, 250 meters of plenum rated fiber optic cable and various audio and VGA cables. Models are available in box or card version. The card units fit within the model 6000A card cage, sold separately.
In addition, you can get point-to-multipoint signal distribution by combining the 7220 with Digital Fiberlink optical distribution amplifiers (8000 or 8100 Series), for more complex, expandable distribution.
7. The AV IT Convergence
Not long ago, the IT department handled the computers, the networks and the software. The AV department handled the projectors, the screens, and the laser pointers. Prior to the AV IT convergence, the only time the two came together is when a presenter's laptop needed to be fixed.
This year, however, marked a major shift in how AV and IT work together. In fact, the lines have blurred so that one technology manager is likely to be responsible for both IT and AV.
Why? The network.
Every projector manufacturer now has network-enabled projectors. Every switcher manufacturer either has integrated network-compatibility or RS232 adapters to make them IP-addressable. Projection screens are now hooked up to the networks as well as flat panel displays.
What this means is that every piece of technology in the organization will be connected to, controlled through, and monitored within the network. This is significant for three reasons. First, that technology manager now has more responsibility - much more equipment to manage. Second, the manager also has much more information available immediately about the equipment. If a projector lamp needs replacing in the conference room, the manager gets a message. If an LCD panel is taken off the wall or a projector removed from the ceiling, the manager gets an instant alert. And if the manager has to travel, he or she can monitor and control all these components remotely using over the Internet.
Third, it‘s significant because more of these technology managers are deciding to outsource the monitoring and quality control to professional AV companies that know how to work with, and build upon, the network.
Building on the Network
While the network is firmly in place, you don‘t want to simply add components such as projectors to it just to get them connected. The smart organizations are going to companies such as ours for design and integration so that each physical location is not only equipped with all the particular needs for that room but also is controlled from the ideal locations. For example, one presentation room might be best controlled via a touch screen control panel that lets someone within the room control the screen position, the lighting, closing and opening of the draperies as well as control of speakers and microphones. Another room, such as a cafeteria or lobby, might require digital signage with messages that change according to time and according to which lobby visitors are expected, or which work teams are lunching, and might be controlled from the human resources or corporate communications departments.
All these are individually controlled but are also controlled and monitored on a macro level from one location. Similar to how the IT manager relies on the Internet Service Provider to handle performance of the Internet connection and remote equipment, more IT managers are turning to their ProAV companies to pro-actively manage their AV equipment, which is easily handled from the ProAV company‘s own headquarters. Why? Because the ProAV company that designed the systems and all the equipment is intimately familiar with how each piece, and the system in its entirety, should perform -- AND the ProAV company can do it for less than the salary of a dedicated staff employee.
Wireless - The Future of Networks
Most of the early wireless presentation systems used an industry standard transmission protocol known as IEEE 802.11b, or WiFi. WiFi can transmit wireless data at a speed of 11Mbps (megabits per second). This is handy for a variety of applications but when speed counts, it falls short.
Don't despair. The new wireless protocol called 802.11g yields 54Mbps, good enough for high resolution data and even HDTV.
Imagine every piece of AV equipment on your network connecting wirelessly for anytime, anywhere, any type of content presentations. Just the thought of fewer physical cables to buy, store and manage is a dream.
Well it's happening now and if you haven't yet gone wireless with your AV equipment, you will. And you'll want to.
The trend toward wireless is another reason more IT managers are coming to ProAV companies early on in their AV decisions. Companies such as ours can design a system that can handle wired and wireless, and is prepared for the wireless future, whether or not you're ready to go wireless today. We can keep constant watch on the performance and security of equipment and systems and we can be sure free upgrades are installed immediately.
AV-IT as Technology Partners
Centralizing the responsibilities for all technologies just makes good business sense. But as your responsibilities as technology manager grow, we can be (and have been to many) a valuable resource for managing the details of your system, leaving you free for what you do best - constantly increasing your knowledge and expertise so that you‘re the best source of knowledge for your organization‘s current and future technology needs.
8. Digital Signage in Movie Theaters
Audience communications within movie theaters has changed over the decades. Movie posters depict upcoming feature films, photos of food help buyers decide what to eat, and signs over the individual theater doors help moviegoers know which door to enter.
Despite the extraordinary technological advances used in creating movies these days, the theaters that display them have done very little with technology.
Now, however, especially in metropolitan areas, there are more movie theaters than ever and they are forced to become increasingly competitive.
Some have chosen to compete with cushy leather seats, tables for snacks, and one theater even put in a restaurant that serves meals that patrons order from a menu, complete with fine wines.
While the methods for competing vary widely, what all the theaters owners are considering is digital signage throughout the theater. This technology, also referred to as dynamic digital signage because of its ability to change according to need, is a network of flat panel displays for public viewing. The panels can show text, photos or other images, or video (and also a combination of all three).
The beauty of these systems is that the content developer can program the content on any of dozens or even hundreds of displays, then create schedules. That way, the displays can show the same thing at once, or individual panels can show completely different content at any given time.
Movie posters are the first target. For the longest time, posters have been one of the primary ways of advertising upcoming movies. They are a very special art form because with one image, the artist must convey the content and mood of the film to attract audiences.
Many of these posters are now being replaced by plasma or LCD flat panel displays that can show the movie trailer, the "making of" documentary and interviews with the cast. The digital signage system can be programmed according to time and day. For example, the theater might advertise a family film, historical drama or a comedy with general appeal during the afternoon when more retirees are likely to attend. The theater might decide to advertise love stories, action flicks or the new, racier teen comedies, on weekend nights when younger attendees might go to the movies on dates.
The same can be done with digital signage near the concession stand. The theater can advertise candy on weekend days when more children are likely to go to the movies, and popcorn, iced tea and coffee to more mature audiences during weekdays.
Digital signage can also replace the LED signs over the individual theater doors, so moviegoers can stop and watch trailers of other movies currently playing. That way they are more likely to return sooner when they see one that appeals to them.
Lastly, the digital signage can be placed outdoors also, attracting attention from those either those waiting in the ticket line or stopping those passing by, such as in malls.
The programming can be done months in advance, and it can be changed on the fly. That accommodates last minute changes in the schedule and also any special messages.
If an organization rents the theater for a private function, not only can the digital signs be programmed to support their event, it adds tremendous value to your theater, so they are more likely to choose yours for their event. Some theaters also make extra money by renting out some of the digital signage to local businesses for advertising.
For movie theaters, this represents an entirely new way to attract and entertain audiences. For audiences, it means a far more entertaining experience before and after attending a movie, on the way in and out of the theater. It also means they are more likely to come earlier, stay later.
We can show you how digital signage can increase your ticket sales and also provide a far more lively experience for your patrons.