We’re pleased to announce the winners of the 8th annual Innovative Product Awards. Our yearend recap acknowledges both electronic and mechanical innovations and most of all celebrates the engineering and engineers behind each of these products. Readers chose the winners from among submitted products. Thank you to all the readers who participated and congratulations to all the people behind the products.–Cynthia Wisehart
The unique Silent Partner enclosure was designed to mitigate the timeless challenge of projector heat and noise. The enclosure holds projectors from 5,000—15,000 ANSI lumens. The Silent Partner’s convoluted exhaust airflow path and acoustic insulation foam shut out any sound from the low noise variable speed exhaust fan, while the thermostatic fan control ensures proper projector cooling. Beyond that, built-in inlet filters catch dust, and an easy-access door allows for easy projector service. Removable, lockable side doors with optical grade port glass provide an extra level of security. The Silent Partner goes anywhere, mounts to a tabletop or beneath most ceilings, and can also be attached to a projector lift to conceal the unit when not in use. 120V and international 240V versions are available.
These new Tesira-integrated Beamtracking ceiling mics with built-in DSP were recently used to transform hundreds of conference rooms at Uber HQ. These mics, along with the new PoE+ AMP-450P conferencing amp are designed to enable crystal clear audio for far end attendees. The modular devices allow scalability and adaptability in size of application; the amp can be placed anywhere including air-handling spaces. Rooms of varying sizes can be standardized to a common platform and simply varied to suit rooms as needed. A design calculator helps make it easy to select and optimize coverage for various rooms and budgets. The underlying Beamtracking technology allows the microphone to identify and lock onto a single source—even if the person speaking is moving around. Little or no set up is required to track and intelligently mix conversations from around the table. The small but mighty amp is uniquely capable of operating in a patented “burst mode” to handle peaks up to 50 watts per channel. Plug-and-play integration of mics and amps with Tesira and TesiraFORTE means that processing, features, and GUI can be tailored according to complexity.
This new-from-the-ground-up DSP amplifier series has three 4-channel models and one 8-channel model, offering a power density of 5 kW, 10 kW and even 20 kW from a single amplifier with all channels driven. IPX series amplifiers carry eight Dante audio inputs in addition to their analog inputs (also supports AES70). With native network redundancy and configurable input fail-over and fallback configuration, this design prioritizes system redundancy where uninterrupted performance is mission critical. Last month, the amplifiers got a 4.0 release of the accompanying IRIS-Net software for system configuration, remote control and supervision as well as the ability to create customized graphical user interfaces with individual user access permissions.
The new TLS family of TouchLink Scheduling panels are designed to help ease integration and provide powerful, dedicated panels for meeting space reservations. Out of the box, TLS panels can be customized with free Room Agent software and connect directly to Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Google Calendar without the need for additional scheduling software or external processors. Users can make reservations directly from these panels, a computer, or any smartphone or tablet that connects to any one of the supported mail servers. Bright red and green LED light bars make it easy to see if a room is occupied or available even from down the hall. New room scheduling analytics provide data on room usage, activity patterns, and occupancy trends. Models include the TLS 725M, TLS 1022M, TLS 1022T, and the TLS 520M, plus a new flagship 10” TLS 1025M that was released shortly before voting closed.
This wireless and wired collaboration gateway is Extron’s comprehensive take on mirrored BYOD—for both open and restrictive environments. It lets users present full-screen mirrored content from computers, tablets and phones onto a display for collaboration, supporting simultaneous display of up to four devices including an HDMI-connected device. The display layout dynamically and elegantly updates as new content is shared or removed. The HDMI input supports wired connections from any connected source. Collaboration and moderator modes facilitate both open and restrictive environments. A suite of security protocols protects collaboration between user devices and the ShareLink Pro 1000. When used with Extron GVE – GlobalViewer Enterprise software, multiple units can be managed across an enterprise or campus. To improve enterprise-wide deployments, a fully-customizable welcome screen with multiple configuration options assists users in quickly connecting their devices and sharing content. Centralized management tools enable simultaneous configuration, firmware updates, management, monitoring, and control of multiple units from one central location.
Most ALR screen surfaces reflect off-axis ambient light away from the viewer and traditionally can hotspot with ultra-short throw projection. This new screen rejects up to 57% of off-axis ambient light and has a reasonable gain of 0.9 without sacrificing projection light. It also reduces hot spotting and performs particularly well in rooms like classrooms when lights need to be kept on. Available in NanoPerf up to 102” image height; works with lens throw distance ratio of 0.25:1 or longer for brightness uniformity.
This robust, intuitive software-based scripting engine is the IT programming power behind the Q-SYS control system. The scripting engine allows users to integrate the range of control scenarios from simple huddle rooms to complex theme parks. Custom scripts are supported with modern, accessible scripting languages including the widely-accepted Lua, an open-source, IT-friendly programming language. For more commonly used applications there is a library of easy plugins and control scripts, with more in development by QSC and others. (At press time, L’- Acoustics announced their compatibility with Q-SYS). The new Block Controller component offers a drag-and-drop method for building control scripts within Q-SYS. Based on a concept originally developed by Google and MIT, this open source visual programming tool uses interlocking, graphical blocks to represent common programming concepts. It enables easy composition of sophisticated scripts, especially for novice programmers.
Thanks to a patented Dynamic Thermal Transfer system, this signage display can operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -31F to 140F and carries an IP68 rating. Thus Peerless-AV claims the highest environmental rating in its class for this mechanically and optically rugged display. Minnesota-ready and Dubai-ready for all types of conditions and lighting. Designed with optic bonding and an IPS and High TNI panel, these panes (43”, 49”, 55”, and 65”) are designed to operate in nearly any position or application, and hold color accuracy, even standing up to direct sunlight with 2500 nits. A Quarter Wave Plate polarizer allows for portrait or landscape. A 20K-rated impact resistant safety cover glass, updated input panel/compartment and cord cover, and IR control lockout and button board lockout all contribute to longevity and security. Support features include remote and local monitoring.
Probably the number one thing that matters about the newest D-Tools is a complete re-engineering of its Change Order process to enable the creation of multiple, persistent Change Orders while also adding a new approval process for Change Order acceptance. Change Orders are one of the most important, neglected (and unpopular) project management tools. Anything that can make them smoother, more transparent, and more effective would clearly be welcome, based on reader response. In addition, for 2018, security, catalog, and Data Library features have been added.
This series of nine compact four-input scalers claim a benchmark in video scaling, switching and integration. They support HDMI 2.0 data rates up to 18 Gbps and incorporate the Extron-exclusive Vector 4K scaling engine with 4:4:4 chroma sampling and 30-bit internal video processing. Features include seamless switching effects, logo keying, and still image recall. IN1800 Series models featuring DTP2 twisted pair connectivity support 4K/60 @ 4:4:4 signal extension up to 330 feet (100 meters) over a shielded CATx cable when paired with DTP2 endpoints. These models are compatible with all DTP products, enabling additional design options. In addition, IN1800 models with DTP2 are configurable to work with all Extron XTP CrossPoint modular matrix switchers, as well as HDBaseT-enabled displays.
Extron introduced the SF 3PT pendant loudspeaker late last year; it was inspired by modern pendant lighting and features a 3” full-range driver for speech reinforcement and music playback in high-ceiling and open-ceiling applications. The SF 3PT is available in black or white and is paintable to fit in with any décor. The new SF 26P T announced in August is a two-way pendant designed for high performance program or music playback in similar settings. Included is Extron’s exclusive PendantConnect speaker cable that combines the speaker wires and a steel safety cable within a single outer jacket, providing for a finished installation that is clean and secure over a single cable. The UL listed SF 3PT offers both direct 8 ohm and 70/100 volt operation and is voiced similarly to the Extron SF 3CT LP for sonic consistency in mixed ceiling environments.
Designed for the education and corporate markets, the PT-MZ770 8,000lm projectors were designed to capture the portability and picture quality of LCD imaging, while keeping the low operating cost and high reliability of SOLID SHINE laser. An air tight dust-resistant optical unit, one-way airflow, and a reusable eco-filter support the kind of maintenance-free operation people expect from laser projectors. Features such as a 27 dB quiet mode and quick start/quick off ensure smooth presentations, making it an excellent solution for education venues and corporate meeting spaces, where waiting for picture can deflate a meeting or lesson. The PT-MZ770 is also equipped with Panasonic’s LinkRay Light ID technology.
This motorized screen has a 2-way projection material (entitled WraithVeil) that is IP33-rated for wind/rain penetration. The tab-tension design supports a front or rear projection surface with uniform flatness, for use with either standard, short-throw, or ultra-short-throw projectors. Gain brightness is 0.8 with a 150-degree viewing angle on either side. The tab-tension design supports a front/rear projection surface with perfect uniform flatness, supporting standard, short throw or UST projectors. The screen comes with a Radio Frequency remote control that doubles as a wireless 12-volt projector trigger that coordinates the screen’s drop and rise with the projector’s power cycle. Sizes 100”, 120”, 135”, and 150” with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
XiO Cloud is a subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that provides a powerful centralized, browser-based alternative to programming. It allows centralized enterprise-wide configuration, monitoring, management, and control of Crestron products including Mercury, 3-Series Control Systems, DigitalMedia (including DMPSs) and TSW touch screens. Users simply connect a device to the network from anywhere in the world and it is automatically recognized. The device doesn’t even need to be online when it’s configured. XiO Cloud is designed to give IT managers a centralized tool and dashboard to deploy and manage thousands of devices, using drag-and-drop functionality to name, configure, and organize devices worldwide, or to push firmware updates to one or all devices or active, transfer, or remove licenses. The dashboard provides data and access to daily management and monitoring.
This groundbreaking new line of modular 4K I/O cards, transmitters, and receivers support DM-MD8x8, DM-MD16x6, and DM-MD32x32 switchers, delivering 4K60, 4:4:4, and HDR over HDBaseT connectivity (or DM8G+) using the same DM switcher chassis and same DM cabling. The KMZ line includes an array of input and output cards, supporting a range of channel counts, splitting, scaling, stereo downmixing, and signal and control formats-HDMI, 7.1 audio, IR, RS-232, and Ethernet control ports, and USB HID device and host signal extension ports.
This new large-format addition to Panasonic’s 3-Chip DLP laser projector portfolio claims 21,000 lumens of maximum brightness and 20,000:1 contrast ratio in WUXGA or SXGA+ resolution. Its compact size, powered lens shift, and wide range of optional lenses pitches it for rental, staging and large venue installations. The projector can be mounted in any 360-degree configuration without picture distortion in temporary or permanent installation. Single LAN cable DIGITAL LINK connectivity simplifies installation, reduces cabling and associated costs, and enhances reliability.
The VPL-FHZ120L is pitched for auditoriums and conference halls supporting live performances and ceremonies. The 3LCD installation projector is suitable for applications requiring precise color reproduction such as in exhibitions and museums. The VPL-FHZ90L is suitable for mid to large-sized classrooms or corporate meeting rooms, even those with challenging installation demands including natural lighting or bright spaces.
This new line of Symphony Table Boxes emphasizes gently curved shapes to allow for large cable to bulkhead AV connections while remaining faithful to the aesthetic demands of those picky interior designers. Twelve color combinations with technical configurations include a choice of full-insert AC outlets, USB charging ports, and low voltage openings. Available as a clamp on, or mounted in the table with frame and cover, or mounted under a table, shelf or chair.
These cables are designed specifically for the tight spaces. They claim “unheard-of flexibility” and a low-profile design that is up to 40% smaller than traditional HDMI cables. These cables support Ultra HD, 4K@60Hz, Certified 18G, 4:4:4 chroma sampling, transmission of HDR, Ethernet, Deep Color and up to 32 audio channels with ARC and support for wide angle theatrical 21:9 aspect ratio; and also supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. The exclusive ProGrip connector helps secure the connection with up to 16lbs of retention force to prevent cables from being unintentionally disconnected. SureLength cable length indicators clearly indicate the length of each cable on the connector mold. Cool. Triple professional grade 85% tinned copper braided shielding rejects EM and RF interference for this unique molded strain relief and ultra-flexible jacket.
Affordable, compact laser projectors still feel like an innovation. This light (under 20 lbs) mid-lumen value projector blends 6000 lumens of color and white brightness and WUXGA resolution for picture quality in high ambient light. Wireless technology (plus HDMI, HDBaseT, 3G-SDI) supports desired workflow for corporate, education and mid-budget worship. Likewise compatibility with Crestron RoomView, Extron XTP, AMX, Control4 and Art-Net make for easy installation. Full 360-degree options for installation and angling, plus lens shift, bring substantial flexibility for optimizing picture and convenience in value installations.
This premium laser/3LCD projector has received several awards for its various iterations, in part because it can deliver 15,000 lumens of color/white brightness from 120V in a compact form factor. And it’s pretty. This year, readers responded to the 4K enhancement—the native WUXGA resolution now gets Epson’s 4K Enhancement Technology. Built-in Edge Blending and 3G-SDI and HDBaseT are among the integration-friendly features. Nine optional powered lenses are sold separately and Epson finds it necessary to caution that not all lenses can handle the maximum brightness of this projector.
This sleek table-top wiring box features a one-touch, full-retracting lid that reveals a variety of cables and surface mount connectors that are flush with the surface rather than deeply-recessed. Each cable end and connector is identified with a backlit international symbol. The electrically-clutched, spring-powered One-Touch cable retractors, active Connector Plates, and the USB rapid charging module are powered through an internal electrical power bus. It is configurable using up to twelve modules, organized in two rows with six module spaces per row.
This quarter-rack Linux-based DSP processor has eight modular card slots that accept 2-channel audio input and output cards and 4-channel GPIO cards selectable as input or output. The ability to use any card type, in any combination, in any card slot maximizes I/O flexibility, and allows designers to specifically customize I/O without waste. A 4x4 Dante card is built-in. Supported by Xilica’s drag-and-drop Designer, it is compatible with various Xilica control interfaces as well as any third-party control system. External power supply included; also PoE. Optional AEC mic inputs up to 8-channels@250ms and 16channels@100ms.
This power-to-size, play looks great, and brings Meyer’s IntelligentDC technology to a new form factor and a unique all-aluminum enclosure; it integrates the advantages of self-powered speakers with the installation ease of low voltage. The speaker is a three-way system of two 4-inch cone drivers, a 1-inch metal dome tweeter, a three-channel amplifier (500W) and dedicated signal processing. The internal components are identical to those in the larger, well-loved and wood-enclosed UP-4XP, with the exception of the signal processing which is modified for the slimmer aluminum housing. Operating frequency range is 65 Hz to 18 kHz; the aluminum enclosure is ported, damped, and braced to minimize resonance while maintaining uniform low frequency response. As with the other fourteen speakers in the IntelligentDC range, it receives balanced audio signal and 48 V DC from a remote rack-mount power supply and signal distribution unit. Rigging is flexible as you would expect, as is weather-proofing. The result is a translation of familiar Meyer qualities and workflow to a problem-solving form factor.
This compact flagship digital mixing system gets its hero shots from touring with high-profile acts worldwide, but it also serves in premium installation settings including corporate, broadcast and worship. Under the hood is A&H’s powerful 96 kHz SCVI FPGA engine to claim pristine sound and latency of less than 0.7 ms. With 32 onboard preamps and eight stereo FX engines with dedicated stereo return channels, it is a great in-ear setup for conferences and panel talks. It can expand to up to 48 mics. Dante-compatible at 96 kHz insures network flexibility and future-proof Dante-ness. Supports the beloved A&H DEEP plug in library.
The Series 4 portfolio launched at InfoComm where we saw features including newly-designed support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and BrightSign’s fastest performance to date. The new H.265/H.264 4K/FullHD video engines support 4K full resolution graphics, 4K upscaling and dual decoding of two 4Kp60 videos simultaneously, and HTML5 rendering. Standard IO is Gigabit Ethernet with PoE+, GPIO, IR, analog/digital audio and an M.2 SSD PCIe interface. The XT1144 model supports expanded I/O to include dual USB (A and C) and Live TV playback via the HDMI 2.0a input to play any content (including protected HDCP) from any broadcast channel. Pitched at corporate, luxury retail, sports, bars, large scale videowalls and more.
This implementation of Peerless-AV insanely weatherproof Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display can also be deployed as an optional 10-point IR touch overlay. Continuing on the ruggedness theme of the display, the display portion of the kiosk is full-sealed requiring no air-conditioners or fans. The sealed media area is protected with PermaFlo filter and cooling fans to prevent ingress of dust and water. Custom paint and design options available, designed for ease of maintenance. Available in 49”, 55”, and 65”, the Smart City Kiosk can withstand winds up to 140 mph, making it useable in any city or town for a range of applications, such as retail, government, corporate, hospitality, stadium, and university settings.
As with another of our Innovative Product Award winners, voters gravitated to this on-trend cloud-based remote monitoring platform, which makes it simple to monitor AV installations, get real-time notifications of failure and quickly resolve issues. RTiQ can be configured to monitor RTI control ecosystems and components controlled by an RTI XP control processor. A dashboard provides worldwide access, helps identify the fault and allows custom actions to be triggered to restore components or whole systems, often before the client is even aware of them. Customizable actions include anything the control system is capable of, whether it’s rebooting devices, running macros, or sending commands. It is easily configured using RTI’s Integration Designer programming software.
This shiny object attracted a lot of awards this year since its debut at NAB. Its compelling picture comes via confirmation to the 8K Ultra-HD standard (7680 x 4320) supported by HD (HLG/PQ) functionality (peak brightness of 1000 nits). Sharp’s Rich Color Technology and Mega Contrast support depth of color and blacks and contrast. It can display more than 1 billion pixels in 10-bit color space and can convert from 2K and 4K input sources, for flexibility on content. It works beyond broadcast for surveillance, post-production, medical, and education.
These loudspeakers expand the PreSonus line of sound reinforcement designs. The CDL12 Constant Directivity Loudspeaker combines the best attributes of point source and line array technology into a unique patent-pending design, radiating a highly focused pattern with consistent SPL throughout the frequency response range, both on- and off-axis. The companion subwoofer, the CDL18s, utilizes an innovative ported design that maximizes efficiency to create a big bass sound from a compact cabinet. Both Dante-enabled, powered enclosures can be flown as a vertical array, or combined for ground-stacked applications to create a complete, coherent loudspeaker system with an even response across the frequency spectrum.
This next gen of an award-winning Leyard DirectLight LED Video Wall System adds increased video processing and management capabilities. Significantly, it is the first LED video wall system to integrate a remote power supply and advanced processing directly into the product. It supports the latest 4K video standards, signal extension, multi-source processing, system monitoring and modern web-based graphical control software. DirectLight X reduces dependence on external processing systems while making the video wall easier to operate and monitor. A new Leyard WallDirector software simplifies installation monitoring and management. It also incorporates Leyard WallSync, providing precisely synchronized video playback and genlock across the video wall. It is available in 0.7, 0.9, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8 and 2.5 millimeter pixel pitches. It features a 27-inch cabinet with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and comes with the Leyard Remote Power Supply, a redundant and hot swappable power supply that eliminates heat, weight and points of failure from the video wall.
This processor integrates Shure IntelliMix DSP algorithms that significantly enhance audio quality in video meetings and offer a variety of connectivity options, plus seamless operation with Shure Microflex Advance and Microflex Wireless microphone solutions for AV conferencing. The P300 has a small footprint and is simple to install, providing professional conferencing technology that offers just the right set of features to create a highly intelligible, collaborative meeting experience in small to medium-sized rooms. The processor connects up to eight Dante microphone channels to a room video system, USB soft codec, or mobile device. Each channel supports multiple IntelliMix DSP features, including Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Noise Reduction, and Automatic Gain Control, plus best-in-class automatic mixing.
The suite of products in the LQ Series are Audio-over-IP interfaces for moving and distributing audio and communications signals to/from one or more communication points depending on your configuration. You can network geographically-dispersed audio and communications devices of any brand or technology type over secure LAN, WAN or even the Public Internet. You can also use LQ Series to scale your existing traditional intercom for system expansion and greatly enhance communication with IP capabilities with SIP telephony and mobile apps.
This is the latest in the J+P’s award-winning 3G series. The receiver allows users to add multiple network devices at the endpoint or to add more receivers to support customized systems or system expansion. Port also passes PoE to connected devices. It distributes Ultra HD and 4K video over a single Cat-5e cable and any PoE device can be connected and additional devices added. Installers are no longer restricted by the number of cable runs permitted and can expand systems without additional cable. An integrated scaler and control end points with RS-232 and IR add to the features.
This huddle rooms video sound collaboration system came out of Revolabs and debuted under the new Yamaha Unified Communications brand at InfoComm. It’s unique in its combination of best-in-class audio and high-resolution video, plus screen-sharing capabilities in one simple, wall-mounted system. Specifically envisioned for huddle rooms where tabletop space is at a premium or may not even exist. It also works well for situations where a turnkey, affordable all-inone solution is helpful, without sacrificing signal quality—thanks to the included beamforming microphone array and four speaker elements. Using one USB connection, users have everything they need. Integrated remote management capabilities support worldwide monitoring and management. The video camera is wide-angle HD with a high “pixel per face” resolution. It connects readily to Skype for Business, Spark, GoToMeeting, Zoom, WebEx, and more. It is simple to install, easy to operate and available with integrated DisplayLInk for dual-screen deployment.
This is the dual 4K version of the award-winning Maevex 6150 quad 4K encoder, featuring the same capture and real-time encoding technology. The new 6120 delivers simultaneous dual 4K capture, stream, and record—with options to stream and record even more channels in different configurations—all on a standard one Gigabit Ethernet network. The powerful standalone appliance is ideal for a variety of streaming and recording applications in corporate, education, digital signage, military, government, control rooms, and more. Rack-ready and plug-and-play, it can feed cloud-based servers, push multiple on-premises streams over the LAN, record to local or network storage for later editing and viewing—all concurrently. Significantly, the appliance can also simultaneously stream multiple resolutions, bitrates, and protocols—including Secure Reliable Transport (SRT)—significantly offloading or eliminating cloud transcoding operations and costs. Matrox’ Maevex includes the PowerStream software management tool and powerful PowerStream Plus API also extends to the new encoder for integrated and/or customized control and integration of third-party apps.