InfoComm 2017 Roundup: Mark Peterson
- Jun 28, 2017
InfoComm, North America’s largest audiovisual trade show for creative and technical professionals, welcomed more than 40,000 visitors and had nearly 1,000 exhibitors this year. With some of the latest technologies for display design, infrastructure, and audio at the show, the establishment challenged visitors to walk the floor and ask themselves “What Will You Create?”
Here are some products and systems Mark noticed at the show, that give a good idea of where the industry is headed.
Innovation in Direct View LED innovation leads the take-aways for the 2017 show. Sony continues to refine its Crystal LED solution, and while prohibitively expensive today, their product is positioned to leap beyond front LED in just a few years. This is because Planar/Leyard’s .7 pitch while now in the 4K range, illustrates that direct view LED has reached the point where a denser pitch will not be physically possible without new manufacturing techniques because the pitch is smaller than gap between the tiles. This means that within 2 years companies like Leyard will have to compete on value-add while they revise their manufacturing processes.
The result is foreshadowed, in the large number of custom display mounting solutions that mimic the mounting requirements of very large flat panels from a few years ago. The shift in the market from innovation to commoditization will result in significant drop in pricing in two years, with more in-a-box solutions, particularly because these US companies have to compete with products coming out of China.
Prysm’s decision to separate their collaborative software from their laser walls was in the news and the impacted could be seen throughout the show. Several manufactures were using Prysm software, either on all-in-one displays or direct view LED walls. Leyard’s 1.2 pitch with the rubberized overlay and touch surface is substantially cheaper, better packaged and easier to deploy than Prysm’s display technology.
Cisco was demonstrating the ability to control an AV processor through the Cisco MX user interface. Some may see this as backwards approach (what happens to the non-VC rooms?), but enterprise customers appreciate this breakthrough because it allows them to deploy the same Cisco hardware across the company with the same interface and incorporate environmental control and source selection only where required while keeping the most part of the UI (call control) consistent and locked down.
Crestron’s booth was one of the busiest at the show. Their Mercury product is a hit with one of our largest clients, and their newest foray into uncompressed 4K/60 4-4-4 has a similar feel to their previous approach in DM in terms of getting in front of a significant shift in the AV industry and IP transport.
Shenzhen products on display indicated the ability of Chinese companies to dominate innovation in this space. The Xposter, an all in one LED board illustrated light, thin and intelligent signage board, can be quickly set up and just as easily put away.
Logitech Meetup, a combined 120-degree Camera, microphone and sound bar sets a new bar for low-cost huddle rooms. What is particularly notable (and many may not be aware) is the amount of customer feedback when into the product development. For a company known more for wireless mice, their willingness to provide sneak peaks and their response to huddle room indicates the ability to innovate at low cost, which we can anticipate extending beyond the huddle rooms in years to come.
K-array’s Lyzard-KZ12 may not be new for 2017, but wanted to share for those looking for an alternative to distributed sound through ceiling speakers. These units are 3” x 1, lightweight and waterproof.
What was not on display at the show is important too. Previous shows lead with new from videoconferencing codec hardware providers, but in 2017, there are technically only 3 hardware manufactures at the show and other than another red-dot for Cisco Spark Endpoint none of the innovation on display was in video appliances. This show indicates that we have reached a point where soft-based conference is “good-enough” for the masses, less value seen in ultra-high resolution video calling, particularly when software can be bundled with peripherals provided by Logitech or cloud bridging services like Videxio.