We’re pleased to announce the winners of the 9th annual Innovative Product Awards. Our yearend recap acknowledges both electronic and mechanical innovations and most of all celebrates the engineering and teams behind each of these products. Readers chose the winners through online balloting from among submitted products; winning products were determined by a simple majority of votes. –Cynthia Wisehart
In January, Extron announced the availability of this line of power amplifiers, calling it an engineering breakthrough for a patented thermal design that puts more amp channels in a smaller space with less radiated heat. Other features include wake-up from standby, an Everlast power supply, pro grade signal-to-noise ratio, ultra low inrush current, and patented CDRS – Class D Ripple Suppression. The amplifiers deliver 35 watts or 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms or 70-volt systems. These amps have had about nine months to attract a following; the series placed number one with our voters.
In April, Middle Atlantic started shipping this ADA-compliant credenza—the slimmest in the company’s line with a 10-inch-deep profile. The core innovation is a flexible, configurable rack frame that provides field-mounting flexibility for traditional rackmounts and small devices, and is scalable as AV components need to be added or replaced. The frame contains vertical notches in each bay, offering exhaustive storage and rackmount configurations, utilizing the company’s patented Lever Lock tool-free mounting system. All this translates to more flexibility for adapting the rack on site, which can be critical in small spaces. Static or slide-out rackmount Tech Kits include a thermostatically controlled fan, which mounts in the base of the unit, and a seven-outlet, surge-protected power strip. As part of MAP’s Frame to Furniture line, the aesthetic finish integration is also flexible and smart. Number two with our voters after just over six months on the market.
This product took home a Best of InfoComm Award this year from our onsite panel of experts. Now it has proven itself with our voters. This new compact loudspeaker series is based on Meyer’s LEO family of line arrays including the concentric driver configuration and new amplifier and processor technologies. The X40 has a rotatable horn, a striking power-to-size/weight ratio, and a wide selection of rigging options. The concentric driver configuration deploys dual 8-inch neodymium magnet cone drivers coupled to a low-mid waveguide surrounding the single 3-inch diaphragm high-frequency compression driver. The new amp is a highly efficient 3-channel class D amplifier that produces a total peak output power of 1950 W with a maximum sustained current draw of only 1.3 A.
Clarity Matrix G3 MX55M LCD Video Wall Displays
At InfoComm, Leyard and Planar, a Leyard Company brought an expanded line of this popular LCD video wall system to include 55-inch models with sub-1 millimeter bezels and enhanced visual performance. The Clarity Matrix G3 MX55M has an 0.88 millimeter tiled bezel width, cutting nearly in half the previously smallest bezel size of the Clarity Matrix video wall line. Brightness is 700-nits.
Ideal for control rooms, broadcast, corporate and digital signage applications, the new Clarity Matrix G3 models are available with Planar ERO-LCD (Extended Ruggedness and Optics) protective glass for high-traffic and interactive touch video wall applications. The optional Clarity Matrix Fiber Video Extension provides customers a more secure and longer distance option for extending video signals from Clarity Matrix electronics to displays.
Clarity Matrix G3 takes built-in video wall processing to a new level with the off-board Leyard Video Controller, representing the industry’s first LCD video wall solution to embed advanced video processing directly into the product, delivering up to 5x 4K input and 9x 1080P output resolution with a single 1U Controller. Designed to simplify installation and service, Clarity Matrix G3 features points of connectivity and potential service away from the video wall, allowing users to manage the video wall displays from a central location.
This is a pro grade 16:9 ambient light rejecting, motorized floor rising projector screen for ultra short-throw projection applications. The CLR designation indicates its ability to mitigate high levels of overhead or “ceiling” light—up to 95% of overhead lighting. It’s ideal for environments with bright room lighting or if wall-ceiling installations are impractical, and where ultra-wide viewing angles are helpful. For the Kestrel application, Elite ProAV’s StarBright CLR material is configured in a tab-tensioned format to ensure a taut and flat projection surface. The StarBright material claims a 100x contrast enhancement over standard matte white projector screens; each screen is masked with black borders on all sides to further enhance perceived contrast. A reflective layer concentrates projected light back to the viewer and does not scatter throughout the room; black backing eliminates light penetration. Mechanically the screen rises and lowers using “scissor-backed” cross-spring risers. Includes built in IR/RF receivers, and a USB rechargeable IR/RF remote controls. Also available in 120”.
The Xtend Power Control (XPC) Series are remote relay modules that extend the reach of relay panels and motorized circuit breakers. The series won a Best of InfoComm award this year, impressing our floor judges as “tough as a tank” and “sequential AC power control at its best.” The devices solve the expensive and complex challenge of controlling circuits that are being fed from a panel on the other side of the venue. Users can use one or more of the XPC remote relay options to tie their equipment into the existing RPC controller in their motorized circuit breaker panel, an RPCR electrical relay panel, or NPAC rack-mounted relay panel without having to bring their electricity all the way back to that panel. Each module can be conveniently placed in the rack, on rigging, behind line arrays, or anywhere. Each module contains an electrical connection, a power plug, and an Ethernet port. Integration is simple and straightforward: Connect the module to a power source and the network, and then plug in the equipment that needs power control. Using LynTec’s IP-based GUI, users can set up and customize the control and sequencing for each device.
In February, Tempest announced the launch of its Zen enclosures, the latest of its noise-attenuating Hush Boxes for projectors from 10,000- 30,000 ANSI lumens. Zen is fully self-contained, with no external air ducts, making it easier to install, especially in historic buildings such as theatres and concert halls where new ductwork may not be possible. Innovative variable-speed fan control and internal baffle design delivers noise attenuation around 25dBA for most projector types, and the user can “tune” the system for a preferred tradeoff between acoustic and cooling performance. Zen is available in three standard sizes, covering most projectors from 10,000 to 30,000 lumens in landscape format.
In May, Extron introduced TouchLink Pro control systems. These are complete AV control solutions that combine a TouchLink Pro touchpanel with an integrated IP Link Pro control processor. The all-in-one approach consolidates essential control system components; multiple devices can be controlled directly from the Ethernet port, and the included port expansion adapter makes it easy to add traditional control ports directly at the touchpanel. The port expansion adapter supports two bi-directional RS-232 ports, one digital input, one IR port, and two relays. TouchLink Pro control systems can be customized using Extron GUI Designer software with ready-to-use templates for a wide variety of rooms and presentation environments. The panels are configured using Extron Global Configurator Plus or Global Configurator Professional software. All TouchLink Pro control systems integrate with Extron’s GlobalViewer Enterprise software for AV resource monitoring, management, and control over a computer network. Expect innovation on this platform to continue: features promised in future releases include support for programming, LinkLicense, and controller grouping.
This new line of premium subminiature omnidirectional lavalier (and headset) microphones was designed over several years from the ground up to provide a premium option. It took a Best of InfoComm award from our floor judges this year and scored in the top ten with readers in the Innovative Products voting. Its innovations are both electronic and mechanical. The new dual-diaphragm, patent-pending capsule technology offers quality sound in a compact and easy-to-conceal package, designed to capture the speakers’ whole voice. Improved off-axis consistency enables sound to read accurately even when users aren’t speaking directly into the microphone. The easy-to-conceal package is perfect for quick costume changes or discrete placements under wardrobes without sound quality affected. TwinPlex cables are uniquely strong, light and flexible, immune to kinks and memory effects—ensuring they lay flat under any costume wardrobe or clothing.
Panasonic PT-VMZ Series 3LCD Portable Laser Projector
AT ISE, Panasonic debuted this series to be the world’s smallest and lightest WUXGA laser models in the 5,000 lumen or higher class. The three 3LCD models covering different light outputs and resolutions all share the same compact chassis that measures approximately 16 x 5 x 14 inches (WHD), and they each weigh just under 16 pounds to facilitate easy transport among different locations. Models are available in WUXGA and WXGA resolution at light outputs between 4,500 and 5,000 lumens. All three models can accept 4K-resolution (up to 30 frames-per-second) and display them at the projector’s native resolution. The projectors are provided with a 1.6x zoom with a short 1:09:1 throw ratio that facilitates close placement to the screen. Wide-range lens shift spec’d at +44% vertical and +/-20% horizontal allows for even more flexibility. Connection options include integrated HDBaseT and an optional wireless module that allows sharing from personal devices of audience members. Features include built-in USB, a 10-watt speaker, and a Quick Start/Quick Off feature.
In Q4, Extron launched the horizontal video mirroring LinkLicense upgrade for Extron SMP 111 streaming media processors, adding additional functionality for recording of video and audio presentations for this popular streamer, which debuted in 2016. The horizontal video mirroring function flips video horizontally to support lightboard or applications that require reversal of the video image due to a presenter facing the camera when writing on a transparent surface. The framework offers an option to add an Extron Pro series control processor and a TouchLink Pro touchpanel.
This is a 32-port matrix switcher for SDI signals of up to 12G SDI. Each SDI port can be defined as either an input or output, allowing configurations such as a 1×31 distribution amplifier, 31×1 switcher, 16×16 matrix switcher or any other input-output combination. The ASPEN-32UFX can also be configured as a few smaller distribution amplifiers and switchers. Debuted at ISE, it supports cable equalization with up to 984 feet for SD signals, 656 feet for 1.5G HD signals, 328 feet for 3G and 6G signals, and 262 feet for 12G signals. The switcher can store up to eight presets. It comes equipped with Kramer’s equalization and re-clocking technology to help the digital signal travel longer distances and has a maximum data rate of 12Gbps. The product is easy to operate and control via the network using embedded web pages and through RS232 using a serial controller.
This is a brand new scaler/ switcher for 4K@60 (4:4:4) HDMI, VGA and composite video signals. The VP-551X scales the video and provides options to use the embedded HDMI audio or breakout audio from one of ten analog audio input signals. After processing and scaling, the embedded AV signal is sent to the HDMI and the HDBaseT outputs simultaneously as well as to a balanced stereo audio output, S/PDIF digital output and a pair of loudspeaker outputs. The scaler/switcher also provides two independent microphone inputs (each with optional 48V phantom power) for mixing, switching or talk-over. Video is on HDMI and includes: selectable aspect ratios (full, best fit, over scan, under scan, letter box and pan scan); a built-in ProcAmp for color, hue, sharpness, noise, contrast and brightness control; and support for Kramer’s PixPerfect Scaling Technology.
When this product won a Best of Show at InfoComm 2019, floor judges found the builtin DSP processing in a ceiling tile microphone to be impressive, especially for budget-driven conferencing applications that need modern sound quality. The ability to connect directly to a soft CODEC such as Zoom in a room sized up 30×30 feet makes this an excellent choice for lower cost conferencing. Mute sync for the LED indicator eliminates the need for a control system in a basic conference room. Onboard signal processing tools include acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, and automatic mixing. Aesthetically the tiles suit a range of rooms and provide a range of mounting options as well as simplified setup and configuration. The product design provides greater out-of-the box performance with less configuration time because of on-board IntelliMix algorithms and improved default lobe coverage positioning. At press time, Shure came out with a drop-ceiling option.
This is Epson’s new large-venue 20K (WUXGA) laser projector, and continues the expanding lineup of ambitious large format projectors from the company. It comes in a compact form factor, with interchangeable interface boards, a sealed light engine and optical unit; it works with Epson’s current lens fleet, including a zero-offset UST. Software is included for simple multi-projector setup. Innovations include a mechanical shutter and automated multi-projector tiling assist powered by built-in cameras.
These new models cater to the increased market demand for immersive and high brightness projection in midsize environments such as schools, corporations, churches, museums, and entertainment installations. With WUXGA resolution and color light output of 6500lm and 5500lm respectively, the VPL-FHZ75 and VPL-FHZ70 use a newly-developed 0.76-inch LCD panel with an incorporated optical compensator to enhance brightness, vibrancy, and contrast, displaying true blacks and accurate-to-life color reproduction. The projectors also draft off Sony’s “Reality Creation” technology, developed for BRAVIA displays and high-end home theater projectors to enhance clarity without increasing noise. Both models come with an innovative “intelligent setting” feature; the four pre-set modes including meeting/classrooms, museums, entertainment venues, and multi-screen setups.
In February, Attero began shipping this single gang network controller, designed specifically for basic audio control applications where easy user interaction is key—it’s a walk-up-and-use approach. It allows simple control of volume, zone source selection, and preset recall with an OLED display and intuitive menu navigation. The recently released Attero Tech unIFY v3.3 configuration supports setup and customization. The Axon C1 supports network control over both TCP/IP and UDP and can interact with Attero and QSC products; additional third party integration is in the roadmap.
Biamp Crowd Mics
This one needs a little longer explanation. It’s a unique audience engagement technology that transforms the relationship between presenters and live audiences. It turns every smartphone and tablet into a personal microphone and interactive response system via a free iOS or Android app, eliminating the need to pass handheld microphones around the room, and supporting group engagements in new ways. Using the Crowd Mics app, audience members can ask questions by voice or text and participate in live discussions directly from their personal mobile device. The system notifies the moderator when an audience member wants to speak, sends a personal notification to attendees’ devices when it’s their turn, and broadcasts their voice through the room’s AV system. If a participant is reluctant to speak, he can text his question to the moderator. The app’s audience response and engagement tools include the ability to select who will speak next, select and turn off an attendee mic, create polls before an event or in real time, and publish comments and poll results in a variety of graph types to the room’s display system. Designed for presentations, lectures, panel discussions, and other presenter/audience events, Crowd Mics is hosted on a small hardware appliance — the ATOM — that supports up to 1,000 event participants. The ATOM connects directly to the room’s audio system via USB or balanced audio outputs, includes the option to present video via HDMI, and provides moderators full access to the event’s participation log, including questions asked and poll results. Organizations can also brand the event experience by adding a custom logo that will appear on the moderator, participant, and display screens. Like other Biamp devices, Crowd Mics can be managed through Biamp’s SageVue browser-based monitoring and management platform.
This is a home theater projector that still connected with our Pro AV voters. At 4K Ultra HD resolution and 3000 lumens, the DLP projector is also compatible with HDR and has low latency to support gaming. Set up is supported with 1.3x optical zoom and various connectivity options.
This is the second generation of this innovative kiosk in a slimmer design. Powered by BrightSign’s new XT1144 expanded IO player, it delivers Full HD 1080p60 single video decoding, HTML support, networked content playback and features including interactivity via the GPIO port, remote snapshot, live text, media feeds and multi-zone content. The integrated 55-inch commercial LCD display offers 10 points of IR touch, and engagement through a Wi-Fi-enabled device, such as a tablet, computer or phone, as well as support for live data such as news, weather or social media feeds.
D-Tools System Integrator (SI) v13
The newest version of D-Tools System Integrator brings new productivity features. Service Plans brings the ability to define, create, sell, and manage Service Plans for new and existing projects; Service Orders will be linked to Service Plans to accurately track estimated vs. actual results, both in terms of hours and dollars. Allowance Packages can be created during the bidding process as placeholders to be replaced with actual products after the contract is signed without affecting the project price. The Bundled Wire/Cable Packages eases specification and enables connections down to the individual conductor. Payments Processing now enables users to accept and process credit card and ACH payments from clients. AVIQ Database Integration provides SI software users with access to a growing, comprehensive library of detailed product information.
The Crestron DM-NVX D80 IoAV network AV decoder debuted at InfoComm where it won a Best of Show award from our onsite judges. The Innovative Awards voters have agreed. The decoder simply and ingeniously transforms a display into a native DM NVX endpoint. The DM NVX decoder plugs into the OPS (Open Pluggable Specification) port and is powered by the display, eliminating the need for cables and power modules, allowing displays to be flush mounted on the wall wherever you want. DMNVX-D80-IoAV greatly simplifies installation and eliminates programming. With its ability to integrate with Crestron XiO Cloud, DMNVX-D80 allows system managers to infinitely control each display from one centralized location. Fundamentally, the decoder is a simple, ingenious way to connect display manufacturers to AV over IP and DM-NVX.
The ever-expanding SQ series got new sizes at InfoComm with the addition of 49, 55 and 65 inches to its existing portfolio of 86- and 98-inch models. All models are capable of 24/7 continuous operation. The SQ1 series allows simple setup with DIGITAL LINK, based on the HDBaseT standard, connecting video, audio, and control signals to external devices with a single LAN cable. A built-in 4K USB media player eliminates the need for an external media player. The SQ1 Series features an Intel Smart Display Module (SDM) slot, which makes it possible to customize the display and its connectivity for a customer’s application needs.
This product came out of a collaboration with Matrox and Panopto to deliver a fully integrated appliance for Panopto’s popular video management system for businesses and universities. The compact Maevex appliance brings several benefits to the Panopto system. Key feature set includes two 1080p inputs with multiple on-device quality recordings per input and two channels of 1080p live streaming while recording. Multiple recordings of different qualities can be recorded simultaneously to the device’s solid-state memory and uploaded while the session is in progress. These on-device multiple recording qualities can later be used to address the best-possible quality match for any viewing device. The recordings are encoded and ready for use as-is, without any quality loss or time loss (no transcoding, decoding, or re-encoding required). This workflow enables quality video on demand from the event to be made available to viewers much faster. As part of this dual-stream appliance approach, when there are no active streams being broadcast, the two sets of recorded streams are delivered to the Panopto VMS simultaneously during the live event, as cloud transcoding is eliminated. If there are live streams being broadcast, the recorded streams are delivered immediately after the live streaming event ends, again with no cloud transcoding required.
The compact ESB-1080 Enterprise Sound Bar brings clear, dynamic, full-range speaker output to the conference room via two built-in subwoofers, a bass-reflex port, two dome tweeters, and two woofers. Its conference-mode preset is specialized for installation in conference room spaces. Versatile mounting options make it flexible for various enterprise needs and designs. The sound bar is available stand alone, or as part of the bundled solution with the Huddly IQ AI-powered conference camera. The camera provides 150-degree wide-angle 1080p video, an embedded mic array, automated AI features, and the Huddly InSights analytics API.
These unique devices are Bluetooth audio-receiving modules compatible with RDL Format-A twisted pair receivers designed to send, receive and distribute analog audio over three pairs of a standard, dedicated CATx cable and connectors. The fourth pair of the CATx cable is used to distribute power to connected modules. When connected to a Format-A receiver, the D SERIES-BT1A becomes a wall-mounted stand-alone Bluetooth receiver. Bluetooth audio is available from the Format-A receiver, which also powers the unit. RDL also offers products that interface Format-A products to a Dante network, allowing the D SERIES-BT1A to operate as part of a larger Format-A and/or Dante network audio system. The D SERIES-BT1A features a stereo/mono switch (set during installation) that permits summed mono audio to be sent over one switch-selected pair to the Format-A receiver. If set for stereo operation, an additional Format-A source (set to Pair A) may be daisy chained with the module to a three-pair Format-A receiver. If set for mono operation, up to three modules may be daisy chained to a single three-pair Format-A receiver. Users can customize the module name and programming password through the Bluetooth connection using a compatible smartphone, computer or tablet terminal program.
Crestron’s ever-evolving room scheduling platform continues to expand with new additions to supported apps and platforms from Ad Astra to Zoom and pretty much every thing in between that enterprises use for third-party scheduling. New touchscreens for the platform debuted at InfoComm, both supporting direct-connect scheduling.
Pro Video Instruments veCOAX Broadcast
This is a broadcast-quality, one-stop integration that offers a simple, affordable option for the 4K broadcast needs of corporate, hospitality, government and houses of worship. Technologies are condensed in one box, supporting rackmount, dual power supply, 24/7 operation and hot swap customizable modules. An integrated IP switch allows clean separation between management and IP streaming for max security in big installations. Multiple input cards can accommodate OTA antennas, dish antennas, HDMI and SDI AV Video source feeds, incoming IP streaming from Internet or other sources, 4K video sources, IPTV, videowall processors, media an computer players, and any other combination of TV signal feeds. Integrators can combine multiple units for additional channels, high-density DTV processors, while conserving rack space.
Sony Edge Analytics: AI-Based Video Analytics Solution
Sony’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) based Edge Analytics solution, carries and integrates decades of Sony expertise in production and display, allowing users to create video content in real time, without the need for specialized training, additional staff or equipment. The compact and lightweight REA-C1000 uses its advanced AI-based video analytics technology to analyze the input it receives from connected cameras and automatically extracts the object in focus to combine it with other images in real time. This unique technology, using motion/face detection and color/ shape recognition, effectively makes the REA-C1000 the powerful brain of any connected camera and AV setup, allowing education, government and corporate organizations to cost-effectively create professional, engaging content. A range of ingenious optional, a la carte graphics features can be trialed and added, including handwriting extraction and overlay; Chroma key-less CG; focus-area cropping; close-up by gesture; as well as support for PTZ auto-tracking. The REA-C1000 will support 4K/HD input and output, and will be able to connect directly to Sony’s PTZ cameras, including its range of XDCAM camcorders. Additionally, with HDMI network connection, the REA-C1000 can seamlessly integrate into various common AV setups involving either multiple displays, large screen projections with monitors, or live-streaming projects.
Biamp has launched the next phase of its Desono speaker family with a new constant-voltage, in-ceiling sound reinforcement speaker. The IC6 medium-format, in-ceiling loudspeaker is designed to deliver full-range music in larger common areas, including airports, warehouses, casinos, and factories. The new Desono IC6 6-inch in-ceiling loudspeaker features a six-position; constant-voltage 70V/100V tap (1.8, 3.8, 7.5, 15, 30, and 60) with an 8-Ohm bypass, allowing designers the flexibility to specify the exact number of speakers needed to support fine-tuned speech reproduction. The speaker joins the existing Desono lineup of pendant speakers.