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Mitsubishi XL8 Highlights:

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United Visual A/V Insider - March 2005

Table of Contents:
1. United Visual provides A/V Solutions for Teen Chicago Exhibit
2. Crestron Expands Isys Line
3. Chief Introduces New Accessories for Projector Mounts
4. Crown Introduces Commercial Audio Series
5. New Fliptop Control Center From Crestron
6. Premier Introduces Universal Tabletop Stand for LCD/Plasma
7. TANDBERG Introduces Expressway Video Conferencing Over IP
8. iMatte Introduces Scaled-down Version of iSkia
9. SMART Lowers Price on SMART Board 3000i
10. United Visual is at Your Service
11. Improving Presentations


1. United Visual provides Audio Visual Solutions for
the Chicago Historical Society's Teens Chicago Exhibit

A classic example of Chicago architecture, the Historical Society offers a wide variety of insight into the city's past through a variety of exhibits with a wealth of knowledge on the history of Chicago and Illinois.

Teen Chicago is a 3000 square foot exhibit that delves into the history of the adolescent experience, from the child labor reform of the early 1900s to the doo-wop and rock of the 1950s, to the teens of the 1970s and other popular culture trends that defined generations.

The Teen Chicago exposition features several interactive video presentations that creatively employ a variety of audiovisual technology.  When you enter Teens Chicago three large projection areas meet you with three separate video presentations projected from three Sharp XG-C55X 3000 ANSI Lumens LCD projectors strategically mounted on the ceiling.  Sound is delivered by means of a Dakota Audio Sound Array that focuses sound from the presentations to small-defined target area.  By concentrating the sound in just this area visitors can enjoy the other stations throughout the exhibit without being disturbed by the program audio from the intro presentation.  As you move through the exhibit you will encounter four oral history stations all of which are interactive via either a touch screen monitor or a Smart Actalyst™ interactive digital overlay on a plasma display.  With the Smart overlays on the 42-inch plasmas displays, exhibit visitors can prompt several different options from the interactive DVD video presentations.  Three other video presentations will be encountered during the walk through which are projected on custom screens or specially painted surfaces to fit the design of the exhibit.  The projected video presentations are also interactive giving the visitor the ability to control the video through trackball and bush button controls. The integrated audiovisual systems met the exhibit designers vision of blending personal stories, nostalgia, and historical analysis to explore what it means to be a teenager growing up in Chicago in an interactive environment.

The exhibit has been hugely successful and plans are now in the works to expand the audience and move the exhibit to a number of different venues.


2. Crestron Expands Isys Line

Crestron announced a new version of its Isys line of touchpanels and also announced a low-cost receiver for the company's MediaManager product line.

The new Isys control touchpanel is the TPS-4000L, a flush-mount touchpanel display for lectern or wall mount installs. It features a 10.4-inch, 640 x 480 display with full color graphic control with high-resolution graphics and scalable video.  It accepts and scales any composite or S-Video source in any size window, including full screen, for full-motion video.  The video preview window allows you to preview video before showing it to an audience.  For home use (it's positioned for both the corporate and residential space), you can preview a movie, and when used with the Crestron Video Intercom system, allows for location monitoring, such as a nursery, front door or gate.


3. Chief Introduces New Accessories for Projector Mounts

Chief added two new accessories for its RPA series of projector mounts.  The first includes new cable management products, which cover the cables but also provide access to them when needed.  The Quick-Snap Cable Covers is a kit of 3 units of 4-foot long cable management covers that manage cables by snapping onto the outside of any column from 1 9/10-inches to 2 ¾-inches in diameter.

Another accessory is the CMA-347 Vibration Isolator, which reduces image movement on a projector by using counter-balancing weights to stabilize the projector.  A common application for this accessory includes buildings with HVAC systems that induce unwanted vibrations in the projected image.


4. Crown Introduces Commercial Audio Series

Crown International has a new Commercial Audio Series - the 180MA and 280MA mixer-amplifiers.  The Crown 180MA and 280MA are high-value mixer-amplifiers for commercial and industrial audio.  They provide 4-ohm and constant-voltage outputs (70V and 100V).  The 180MA has 4 inputs and one 80W power amplifier for single-zone systems.  The 280MA has 8 inputs and dual 80W power amplifiers for two-zone systems.

Applications: schools, hospitals, factories, restaurant/retail, houses of worship, fitness facilities, A/V boardrooms, prisons, and small offices.  Typical uses are paging, background music, security, and evacuation instructions.


5. New Fliptop Control Center From Crestron

Crestron announced a new fliptop control center that lets you flip the center down flush with the table or desk when not in use.  When you flip it up, it provides extensive pushbutton control and connectivity for power and almost any AV, communications, data or control device.  It houses a Cresnet keypad, an AC power outlet and up to eight individually stored pullout cables.  The C2N-FTB also features two 8-segment LED meters that display level settings such as audio volume and lighting level.

The C2N-FTB accommodates almost any AV, data or communications cable type, providing a clean, stylish cradle in which the connectors rest.  The user can effortlessly pull out the cable needed, and then return the cable to its slot. The cable management plate and tie bar behind the faceplate guide and protect the cables while allowing smooth pass-thru.


6. Premier Mounts Introduces New Universal Tabletop Stand for LCD/Plasma Displays

Premier Mounts announced a tabletop stand with adjustable mounting arms that lets you position an LCD or plasma display at any height along a vertical chrome post.  The stand accommodates most 32-50-inch displays.  You have a choice between acrylic or silver base.  The adjustable height lets you or your integrator place the display at just the right height for viewing.

The mount has cable concealment so that it appears neat, and a base that can be bolted to the mounting surface for security.

Applications: any room where you prefer to mount a flat panel display on top of the table as opposed to mounting it directly onto the wall.  That might include a freestanding display in the middle of the room.


7. TANDBERG Introduces Expressway Video Conferencing Over Any IP

A new video conferencing system from TANDBERG provides video communication anywhere there is an IP network, says the company.  Expressway is able to get around a firewall in order to provide videoconferencing outside the enterprise, taking it anywhere IP exists.  IP calling is also a challenge because no universal numbering plan exists.  Expressway technology overcomes these hurdles, according to the company.

The company even says the breakthrough opens the door to creating a vast global community of video-communication users among companies and their suppliers, customers and home-office workers.

Expressway technology is now embedded in all TANDBERG MXP endpoints as well as in the TANDBERG Gatekeeper and new TANDBERG Border Controller.


8. iMatte Introduces Scaled-down Version of iSkia

If you haven't heard of iSkia by iMatte, it's an unusual product, to say the least.  The system does a few things.  First and foremost, it uses a matte system that, believe it or not, lets you walk back and forth - anywhere in front of the projection screen -and it won't affect the image behind you.  Usually, when you stand in front of the projector, that part of the image is projected on your body.  iSkia actually blocks you out and repositions that data onto the screen where it belongs.  The system also has a few bells and whistles, such as the ability to manipulate the data on screen using gesture technology.

The original version is rather highend so the company released a scaled-down version that is a bit more affordable and has the features most presenters would enjoy.

Applications: any presentation where the presenter would like to stand in the middle of the room without having to worry about interrupting the projected image.


9. SMART Lowers Price on SMART Board 3000i

SMART lowered the price on its 3000i interactive whiteboard.  The new price represents $2,000 in savings.  The 3000i is a rear projection interactive whiteboard designed for legal, corporate and government applications that require a rear-projection interactive whiteboard with XGA resolution.

With SMART Board software 9.0, users can write over applications in digital ink and then edit, save, print or post their notes to a website for future reference.  The recently released version includes a simplified interface that reduces training time for new users and provides more whiteboarding space.

There is also a new magnifier tool that zooms in on a specific area as a user moves it over the screen and can be used in a courtroom, for example, to highlight detailed visual information.  LinQ software, a component of SMART Board software, allows users to share or control their desktop with the SMART Board interactive whiteboard when connected through a standard or wireless network - great for education and training.


10. United Visual is at Your Service

Your audiovisual systems are likely running fine and doing their job.  If not, then by all means, call us to help.  But if so, you still might want to get in touch with us anyway, for some new ideas that might cut your budget and improve the way your AV systems function.  Is it time for an AV audit?  Here are some reasons why it might be.


We can evaluate your AV products and systems to be sure they run efficiently and intuitively, demanding as little of your tech support time as possible while making sure the presenters and other users have satisfying, not frustrating, experiences operating the equipment.  Is there a frequent, repeating problem facing you or your users?  We can likely find a permanent fix.


Our professionals regularly perform quality audits as a normal part of our service contracts.  Over time, the lighting, furnishings, and usage of any room will change.  Those changes impact the quality of the visual and audio.  Whereas the settings and product selections were perfect for the original set of circumstances, we can evaluate your current environment and adjust the settings or make recommendations about how to improve the quality of your audiovisual systems.


The last thing any organization wants is to invest in expensive equipment that becomes obsolete just a few years later. Part of what we do for our clients is future-proofing systems, i.e., making sure that the equipment they install is appropriate for a five to ten-year systems strategy.  We make sure that, based on our knowledge of the manufacturers' product strategies, technology trends, and your current and future needs, the products we recommend will serve you for a long time to come.

Repurposing Equipment

You might have new needs that could be best served by repurposing existing equipment.  For example, do you really want to buy a new projection system for that small conference room you just added to the building?  Perhaps you should, instead, move the older setup from the executive conference room, then outfit executive conference room with a new and improved presentation system using the latest technology.  If you have new requirements, let us see how we can best use what you already own.


Most organizations are finding there are substantial advantages to putting every possible piece of equipment onto the local area network.  The ability to monitor equipment from a central location or, over the Internet, from anywhere, is giving IT/AV managers piece of mind.  For example, you will know when a projector lamp needs replacing when you receive an email or a message on your pager.  You can get alerts of equipment theft as it happens, important for those hefty plasma or LCD monitor price tags.  You can also be sure equipment is turned off when not in use and you can restrict who uses it and when.  And soon, many of these connections will be wireless, and you'll surely want to monitor who connects to what, where, and why.

There is a good chance we can add connectivity to the equipment you already own.

Conference check

The quality of video and audio conferencing has taken giant leaps over the past two years.  Video conferencing is now more efficient, less complicated, more accessible and less expensive than ever.  We frequently evaluate video conferencing needs, as well as current equipment, to see where we can improve on what you have.  And if you don't have that functionality, let us take a look at how we can get it to you easily and within budget.

Audio conferencing is another area where we can offer improvements with new technologies.  If you think that speakerphone you're using is good enough, you might want to try listening to it from the other end of the line.  Speaker phones without audio improvements leave the listeners struggling to hear the call.  They leave a bad impression of you.  The fixes are so easy and economical these days, there is no reason not to upgrade.

At your service

We can spend a few hours touring your facility with you, making notes on where we can suggest improvements.  We can then sit down with you and propose ways of getting the most out of what you have as well as what we think you will need. You can also accompany us to one of the many trade conferences we attend.  We will pre-select products we think you should see, and you can provide us with a list, too, then we can take you to see them - see how they look and get demonstrations of how they work - then discuss them at each trade show booth.

While the products we represent are important to what we do, we deem our real value as the service we provide our clients.  Nothing is more satisfying than providing creative solutions for making what you have work better and finding new ways to make your organization run more smoothly.  Give us a call... We are at your service!


11. Improving Presentations

New presenters often stumble around a bit while learning to deliver presentations.  Even experienced presenters can use a tip from time to time.  We have presentation experts who work with a variety of speakers to help them improve the ways they deliver their messages.  Here are some of the tips that most often improve presentations.

Check, please

We know this is basic, but you'd be surprised how often it isn't done.  Well before a presentation, the equipment all needs to be checked to be certain it's working properly, and that the presenter knows how to operate it.  In addition, check the source material to be sure it's the correct tape, CD or DVD.  We recently heard about a presentation during which the equipment wasn't hooked up correctly and then, after they got everything working, they actually had the wrong DVD.  The actual presentation was delayed by 45 minutes and half the audience had to leave before it was over.

It's easy to get complacent, particularly about a presentation you've done many times on equipment you use frequently. But a check beforehand, with enough time to fix problems before the audience arrives, is imperative.  If the presenter has trouble operating the equipment, train them until they understand it or leave someone in the room who can operate it.  A clumsy presentation due to equipment malfunctions is embarrassing to the presenter and the organization hosting it.

Short "headline" bullets

When using PowerPoint, take a lesson from newspaper headlines and keep bullet points short and clever.  Rather than a bullet that reads: "We improved the capacity of our gadget this year from 128 MB to 60 GB," a bullet that reads "128 MB yesterday, 60 GB today" will be far more legible onscreen and won't strain your audience, who is trying to read long bullet points.  Besides, short and clever is far more interesting.

Resist reading

Shorter bullet points will help this problem.  Presenters often read exactly what is written on the bullet points, which is terribly boring for the audience.  It's redundant and you can assume they can read that bullet for themselves.  Instead, know your material well enough that you can use that short bullet point as an outline, a jumping off point from which you can just begin to talk about what the bullet point says in relation to the audience. Begin, instead, with "Our customers were asking for greater capacity and we met that demand this year."

And don't read from a script, either. Learn the subject, learn to talk about it by practicing.

Lights up

Keep the lights up as much as possible.  Presentations delivered in the dark make the audience sleepy.  With today's brighter and higher-contrast projectors, most of our clients have systems that keep the lights bright enough so the audience can take notes.

Set time limits

We have all sat through presentations from speakers who just love to hear themselves talk.  Yes, performance is part of good presenting, but some speakers think they're a one-man show at Radio City Music Hall.  Set time limits for your speakers.  If they know then have a set time to deliver the required information, they'll be forced to fit the information into that timeframe.  You'll be doing the speaker a favor, too.  They'll look better when delivering a tighter, more interesting presentation.

Story time

People love to hear stories.  They can relate to stories.  Stories also brighten up presentations and make the presenter a far more interesting speaker.  If you frequently give presentations, incorporate stories that illustrate your points.  Professional presenters carry around notebooks or memo recorders to record stories they read or hear as well as situations they see.  Even popular movies or TV shows can be fodder for great stories because the audience may have familiarity with the characters.

Tell 'em what you told 'em

Most presenters know this already, but the most effective presentations consist of three segments: Tell them what you're going to tell them (overview), then tell them (presentation), then tell them what you just told them (summary review). This way, your audience can follow along, knowing what you're going to discuss, and will retain the information better, especially after the review.

An extension of this concept is letting the audience know how much time they can expect to spend on each section.  If you tell them you'll be spending five minutes on an overview, 25 minutes on the presentation and 10 minutes on a summary, they'll appreciate knowing what sort of time investment you're requesting of them.  They'll be grateful that you're respectful of their time, and they won't be squirming in their seats wondering if the presentation will go on for another hour or another five.


If a presentation is important to you, put together a few friends and do a test-run ahead of time.  It's well worthwhile to see if your points are understood, your jokes are funny, your delivery is compelling and that you'll be remembered as an effective speaker.  This rehearsal panel, when made up of objective supporters, will have your best interest at heart and will help you improve your presentation by letting you know honestly what works and what doesn't.

Also, have your test panel jot down objections as they think of them.  Objections would be any thoughts that are contrary to what you're claiming in your speech.  If you say "there has never been a product like this in history," and one of your test panel members jots down "but I know of one just like it," then use that objection in your speech. Your speech will now incorporate, "You might think the similar product introduced four years ago was just like this one, but ours is unique because.."  Doing this will raise your credibility substantially among your audience.  It's best not to leave questions unanswered, particularly the ones your live audience might be too polite to ask but will question among themselves later.

Know your technology

As much as possible, get to know the capabilities of the technology available to you.  If you're using an interactive whiteboard for your presentation, you might learn you can make handwritten notations over any data, including video, which are captured and saved for your current and future audiences to review.  The control panel in the room might have pre-programmed buttons that lower the lights, lower the projection screen, turn on the projector and shut the draperies all at once, saving you a good five minutes of running around the room doing these steps one-by-one.  Your laptop and the room projector might have a wireless connection that you've never tried, but that would save you from having to run cables.

And learn when not to use technology - when you need to make a point, turn the projection screen to blank to keep the focus on you.

If giving presentations is part of your job, how well you do it will affect your career.  Even seasoned presenters can use a tip or two and we're always available to help you better get your points across.



The A/V Insider is brought to you by:

United Visual, Inc
1050 Spring Lake Drive
Itasca, IL 60143
[email protected]

For information on any solution or product presented in the A/V Insider please call 800-985-9375 and ask to speak to your account representative.

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