Onsite: Almo Pro A/V E4 AV Tour
May 7, 2013 3:08 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart
The Almo Pro A/V E4 AV Tour at San Francisco Convention Center last month was an accessible combination of training, socializing, and tradeshow (with 35 exhibitors).
Training has long been an E4 emphasis and for the first time all classes at the day-long event qualified for CTS RUs. The day kicked off with Gary Kayye’s forward-looking keynote, based on his popular Krystal Ball column. Joe Cornwall, of Lastar, spoke on the current and future state of interactivity. InfoComm’s Tom Kehr led a practical session on assessing network readiness for AV systems with discussion on documentation, networking planning, and troubleshooting. In that same vein, Alan and Jonathan Brawn presented a session on IT/AV integration with an emphasis on how to actually work with an IT department and speak a common language.
After a lunch buffet (in which nearly everybody went for turkey over roast beef, I noticed), Kayye returned to tackle digital signage, continuing the valiant effort to help our industry understand how the value proposition to the advertiser and end-user is the key to selling digital signage systems. The Brawns tackled two of the hot-button Tower of Babel technical issues: the integration of mobile devices, and the headaches of HDMI, HDCP, EDID, HDbaseT, UWB, and WHDI.
Tom Kehr adapted InfoComm’s very popular AV Design Level 1: Environment course, into an hour-long seminar describing and explaining the Projected Image System Contrast Ratio standard, 3m-2011.
NEC’s Rick McPherson led a session on edge-blending and stacking, and a representative from ZeeVee tackled HD over coax and how to build an cable distribution network (without the cable company).
Additionally every hour throughout the day, on the show floor, a fascinating presentation on Samsung’s Smart School reminded me of the potential and complexity of AV for schools. The Smart School system combines large displays, the rugged Galaxy tablet, and a management software to allow teachers to work with students, combining more traditional lecture-style teaching with tablet interactivity. Pitched at K-12, the paradigm is pretty remarkable, and Samsung is trying to build the right content partnerships to help carry it forward. School systems have already adopted the platform, and this is clearly a leadership product in a market that is exceptionally challenging and fast-changing.
E4 has also become a place where Almo’s manufacturer partners debut products in advance of the larger shows. This was the case again in San Francisco. For example, the striking 84in. 4K monitor that Planar demoed at NAB was present in a shipping model—the same model that will be at InfoComm. BrightSign brought its new XD media players, which bring live HDTV to signage using an ATSC/Clear QAM tuner or HDMI input. Sharp showed the new AQUOS 70in. and 80in. LED smart TVs, which impressed with their powerful audio as well as picture. Mitsubishi had its new line of laser projectors. Elo TouchSystems, Hiperwall, Peerless-AV, TouchSystems, and Rane Corporation made their E4 debut joining veterans such as Nanolumens, SunBrite TV, AMX, Atlas Sound, Chief, Da-Lite, Draper, Canon, Furman, Hitachi, Kramer, LG, Premier, and Panasonic, among others.