3. Epson Introduces Two Sub-4-Lb. Projectors, Including Bright Wireless Model
Epson introduced two new sub-4-lb. projectors, including one with 802.11g and true 2500 ANSI lumens. One of the two is the PowerLite 745c with internal WiFi 802.11g -- frame rates up to two to five times faster than 802.11b. The projector is specified at 2500 ANSI lumens, XGA resolution a 3-LCD design and weighs 3.9 pounds. Epson says it is the only projector compatible with Apple's Keynote software and offers LEAP-authentication and WEP/WPA for secure, encrypted wireless transmissions.
It can also be used without a PC, using the PCMCIA and USB slots.
Epson also introduced the PowerLite 740c with the same basic specs but without the WiFi. Both projectors power up in seven seconds and power down in 20.
4. TASCAM Debuts Professional CD/Cassette Recorder
TASCAM has announced an upgraded version of its CD and cassette recorder, used primarily in meeting rooms, houses of worship and other locations where sound needs to be recorded and played to audiences.
The CC-22mkll has been upgraded to 24-bit resolution and uses professional as well as consumer CD-R and CD-RW discs, has bi-directional cassette mechanism, Dolby B noise reduction, return to zero, unbalanced RCA analog I/O for both the CD and cassette recorders and headphone output. It has a 3U rack mount design.
5. Panasonic Shipping XGA Portable
Panasonic announced the company is shipping its PT-L785U portable LCD projector specified at 3200 lumens, 500:1 contrast ratio and XGA resolution.
The PT-L785U has 3/2 pull down, a 3D Digital Comb Filter and Dynamic Sharpness Control. It weighs 12.8 pounds and has a motorized zoom/focus lens and comes with an RJ-45 connector for connecting to the network.
6. Extron Introduces AVT 100 TV and Cable Tuner
Extron announced a cable and TV tuner with RS-232 control targeting boardrooms, conference rooms, and classrooms as well as large-area RF distribution systems in stadiums, arenas, and campus CCTV systems.
Users can select channels from a three-digit alphanumeric LED located on the front panel and control can be done via RS-232 and extended range IR.
The AVT 100 can be set for full or restricted user channel access. Configuration settings for channel presets can be exported to a file for quick installation of additional units. Outputs include composite video, and balanced or unbalanced stereo audio and the AVT 100 is available in NTSC and PAL.
7. Kramer Introduces Electronic Video Image Stabilizer
Kramer introduced additions to its line of VA-2003 Electronic Video Image Stabilizer.
The VA-2003 Digital Motion Stabilizer is a unique high quality appliance that will stabilize the image from a shaky source camera. The VA-2003 analyzes the source video and removes any effects of unintended camera motion, perhaps due to windy conditions, vehicle motion or vibrations from adjacent machinery, thereby stabilizing the image in real-time through the use of DSP technology. DSP technology is the electronic equivalent of a mechanical shock-absorber.
The VA-2003 is compatible with NTSC (default) and PAL video standards. It accepts composite video and s-Video, and outputs composite video and s-Video simultaneously. The VA-2003 can be customized to your requirements, via the user friendly OSD Main Menu, and can be controlled via the front panel controls. It is dependable, rugged, and fits in one vertical space of a standard 19" professional rack enclosure.
8. Sony Introduces New Low-End Projector
Sony has a new 6.4-pound projector with 1800 ANSI lumens and designed for both business and home use. One unique feature of the VPL-CS7 is it's quick "off" function. With most projectors, you need to let the fan cool the projector before you can move it. With this one, you can just shut it off, pick it up and go.
It features monitor loop through for viewing a separate monitor to view the projected image. In addition, frequently used buttons have been relocated to the top panel for quick access.
9. Networking Your World
Once in a while, HomeAV technology drives what happens in the workforce. Some would say that happened with the Internet and email. While home users were logging onto Prodigy and CompuServe and email, finding new places to gain information and new ways of communicating, companies were still filling outboxes with postage-stamped letters and doing research at libraries.
In fact, even when the Web became accessible by the mid-90s, you might remember that some company managers were still on soapboxes about the evils of the internet - how employees would goof off surfing, and would abuse email - "the Internet would be counterproductive!!" they said.
In hindsight, it's hard to believe, but it certainly was true. Sure, there were many companies who were right on top of the technology and adopted it quickly. But many businesses dragged their feet. Their employees, however, got so accustomed to being able to find information at their fingertips at home - and to communicate with others in minutes via email -- that it absolutely drove those hold-outs to get on the Internet.
But adopt, they did and once they did, the LAN with Internet access was quickly everywhere while the concept of networking the home was still a decade or so away.
The commercial market was way ahead of the home market in terms of networking, but just a hint ahead of using AV products on those networks. ProAV products became networkable only over the past 24 months, able to connect, share information and be monitored over the LAN.
Then, home builders began to install networks in new housing developments. And this is the year when networking ALL homes really begins. It's also the year HomeAV products manufacturers are introducing networked systems and peripherals that were only theories just a few years ago.
Perhaps the newest among AV pipedreams-come-to-life is wireless networking, with HomeAV again, leapfrogging corporate technology.
Not only will whole-home networking become standard, this year we're also seeing wireless video transmission come into its own with the new WiFi 802.11g. Before long, a portable AV unit can be carried around the house to any and all rooms, connecting wirelessly and playing video and/or audio from a server, accessing the Internet and email, airing television and letting the user play networked or internet games. That's already possible and do-able, but the technology and product offerings are still evolving.
What's for sure, however, is that users will become accustomed to carrying their peripherals anywhere in the home and having them automatically connect wirelessly to the network with no limits in what those devices can perform. They will become so accustomed that the idea of walking into a corporate meeting room and having to spend a half hour connecting wires among projectors, monitors, laptops, PCs, conference systems - you name it - will feel clumsy and a waste of time compared to the ease of using wireless networks in their everyday lives at home.
We're keeping an eye on these technologies and our designers and installers have the latest information about how wireless networking will become your future. It's never too early to begin thinking about how you will incorporate wireless into your AV rooms and, in fact, we can lay much of the groundwork for it now. Give United Visual a call to see how wireless AV will look and feel in your organization.
10. Podiums Stand Up to Technology
One dictionary definition of the word "podium" reads: ”A dais, especially for an orchestral conductor." With the advent and expansion of "smart" boardrooms and classrooms, executives and professors (or any presenter, for that matter) are indeed "conducting" their business from modern podiums that may be equipped with any and every piece of presentation electronics imaginable.
The range of podiums and lecterns ("a stand used to support a book in a convenient position for a standing reader") available today is truly staggering, and is more likely to remind consumers of Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise than a headmaster reading the classics to a roomful of squirming students.
Podiums and lecterns, those simple pieces of furniture previously relegated to storage closets until needed, are now becoming an integral part of audio-visual design, control, and effective communication to audiences of all kinds.
Whether your requirement is to speak to groups of 50 in a community meeting room, or assemblies of a thousand people in a 10,000-square-foot auditorium, there is a technologically-adept podium (standard or custom-designed) to suit any need. Road warriors may be interested to know there are portable, table-top, amplified lecterns incorporating multiple speakers that operate on standard current or on batteries. They may even come with a built-in reading light and inputs and outputs for additional microphones, tape players, and extension speakers.
Designs and materials employed in today's podiums range from ultimate simplicity to ultimate luxury - from simple metal pedestals to acrylic "Z-shape" speaker stands, to hand-crafted wood "control centers" emblazoned with bronze medallions or artistically etched logos.
Ultimately, you should not explore "podium possibilities" based on your past presentation needs, but on the potential of what today's podiums can add to the convenience, impact, and flexibility of getting your message across.
At an East Coast law school, a systems integrator had a tight deadline to re-configure a series of classrooms with one-touch solutions that would catapult the school into the advanced 21st century audio-visual world. State-of-the-art podiums and a media center now enable professors to command audio, video, microphones and speakers to record, send data back-and-forth between rooms, and stream onto the Internet.
At other colleges, podium consoles are PC-enabled and offer any combination of DVD/CD/VHS drives and permit cable television and Internet access, as well as document cameras to project two or three-dimensional images. Recessed, free-standing or flush-mounted monitors may be incorporated. Instructors may be able to look at each student's computer screen to see how well they are following along. Plug-ins are available for laptop computers or large-storage Zip disks, and some professors use their podium touch-screens to control room lighting.
Award-winning interior designers are also on hand for us - many designers have created one-of-a-kind pieces of "furniture-sculpture" that support a full range of electronics, security/storage compartments, and user-friendly amenities, such as a pull-out step for presenters of diminutive - or short - stature.
But if these multi-media podiums are really much more than your small business, church, civic, or commercial needs demand, fear not. There are podiums and lecterns of more modest, yet highly utilitarian capacity. Presentation platforms are economically available that offer easy laptop plug-ins, keyboard shelves, locking storage doors, and flip-up shelves, drawers or rails to accommodate ancillary equipment. Speakers may or may not be built-in. You'll have a choice of heights and widths, and surfaces might be painted, laminate or veneer, in a choice of colors or wood grains.
Two important questions to ask yourself are, "Am I looking for a piece of furniture to hold a variety of existing equipment?," or, "Am I looking for an improved, more efficient means to control my presentation using common technology?"
Features to Look For
To discover the podium/lectern that's right for your purposes, we'll be alert to "packages" or standard designs with a range of options. There's no right or wrong here, just what works best for your particular application and budget. Beyond the fundamental issues of size, appearance and portability (permanent or removable casters), we'll evaluate and compare the following features:
- Microphone, speaker and amplifier quality
- Storage/drawer/rail capability
- Separate volume controls for various components
- Number of auxiliary input/output connections
- Wireless capability
- Light source
- Height adjustability
- Quality of joints, edges, depth of retainer lip (will it need to hold a 3-ring binder?)
Podium technology is so broad as to enhance the ability of anyone from corporate trainers to city managers to church administrators to perform their duties in a more effective and efficient manner. Important images, the Internet, classroom interaction, and inspiration can all be managed and choreographed from high-tech podiums. Your environment, your audience, your message and its delivery mechanisms are the key to the podium best suited to assert your authority.
Let us help you stand up to the challenge.
11. Face-to-Face Global Style
In many market downturns, employee communications becomes a lost art. Employee magazines go on hiatus, marketing budgets get slashed, and management feels like they're swimming upstream to just keep things going.
But the smart companies today know that there is no more important time to communicate with employees than during downturns. The last thing you want during a downturn is for anyone on the outside - customers, investors, competitors - to believe your employees don't trust or believe in management. Sadly, the most reason why employees lose faith is simple lack of communication. Old style management believes if they don't know what to say, it's best to say nothing.
Alternatively, when the company is doing well, you want the employees to be your best champions, carrying the message forward with the same excitement as those in the know.
The good news for new-style managers is that conferencing solutions have, at the same time, come down in price and rocketed in performance. It is now possible to have real-time company-wide conferences at fractions of the price it would take to buy airline tickets.
Conference Room Systems
Let's say you have six offices in the U.S. and a couple overseas. We can now easily and quickly set up conferencing systems in a meeting room at each of your facilities that includes video cameras, interactive whiteboards, microphones, and even collaboration functions with annotation. Such systems allow everyone in the conference to participate. Today's cameras can be robotic, pointing to whomever is speaking at the time, and the microphones can mute everyone not speaking at the moment, so there is no interruption to the speaker.
One of the newest developments is that some of these conferencing systems are now portable, so we can move the system to different rooms -- even to different facilities - when needed.
Another development that isn't new, but has become affordable and effective just within this past year, is the webconferencing system. This is an extremely simple way to communicate with employees. Employees simply call up a URL on their computer, go to a website, log in, and watch as the presenter is shown in one window and the data, be it PowerPoint, Excel, photos, videos - anything you want - is shown in another window.
The webconferencing system is often used for one-way communication, i.e., there is one presenter and an unlimited audience of listeners/viewers. Webconferencing can, however, facilitate two-way communication often using a telephone and sometimes using webcams attached to the individual PCs. Individuals can also share information on their PCs and interestingly, a moderator of the conference can also take control of other PCs on the conferencing network.
Webconferencing systems can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of participants.
Company-wide meetings alone justify investing in today's affordable conferencing systems. But most of our clients get much more mileage out of their systems. Training, for example, is a snap, with the trainer at his or her familiar environment, equipment set up to go, and the trainees on the remote end getting the same information they would face-to-face. Customer presentations are also improved. If you have an expert in New York, and a customer across the country, the expert can give the presentation on, say, an interactive whiteboard, even making customer recommended changes on the fly to demonstrate the impact of those changes. That's especially true for any CAD/CAM demonstrations but also even just a text presentation changing according to customer requests means successful collaboration in which everyone leaves the meeting satisfied that they've all seen and agreed on the same data.
Effective and affordable: the conferencing systems of today not only shave your travel budget but give you a powerful tool for communicating accurately in a timely manner with everyone who needs to hear your messages. Call United Visual to see how easily we can make this happen for you.