By Corey Moss

InfoComm asked one simple question for InfoComm 2017 – “What will you create? For the attendees they look to take in as much as possible from the industry’s #1 U.S. trade show for the audio visual technology market to create or seek exceptional experiences. For the exhibitors, they look to bring a measure of impact to the attendees. The large companies in the market look to seriously up their game through enhanced product and solutions development, likely having the greatest chance of impacting the industry. For smaller companies and even startups, there’s certainly the chance as well.

Here are my top picks:

1: QSC Enterprise Cores/Q-SYS Realtime OS running on standard Dell PowerEdge server

Q-SYS Core 2200 with Dell

One of the major launches at ISE 2017, QSC partnered with Dell to introduce an industry-first solution that combines the processing capabilities of the Q-SYS realtime operating system with the standard Dell R730 server. The result is the only IT-grade solution available on the market that brings audio, video & control (AV&C) processing into the datacenter.

Martin Barbour, Product Manager – Installed Systems at QSC states, “There is a lot of talk about AV/IT convergence, yet there is no real product on the market that actually works in an IT infrastructure…until now. The Q-SYS Enterprise Core 2200 and Core 5200 is the first solution in the industry where realtime AV&C processing can run on standard IT hardware. The realtime Q-SYS operating system is essentially a computer and built around mainstream IT technology including Intel processing.”

He continues, “This allows us to easily migrate to the latest Intel platform as they introduce newer, faster chipsets. It also allows us the ability to add Q-SYS to virtually any standard hardware, such as the Dell R730XL. When you invest with Q-SYS you don’t just have a piece of hardware. You are investing in a platform that develops over time through software upgrades. There is truly nothing like it on the market.”

Watch this video with TJ Adams, Senior Director of Product Management, Installed Systems at QSC:

Information on QSC Enterprise Cores utilizing Dell server hardware can be found here.

2. Shure Axient Digital

Axient Digital

Shure continues every year to improve on the statement “the most trusted audio brand worldwide” and at InfoComm 2017, they have certainly done that with the brand new Axient Digital platform. Incorporating Shure’s innovative wireless technology, Axient Digital was engineered from the ground up for professional productions where flawless execution is a must. The level of signal stability and audio clarity, flexible hardware options, advanced connectivity and comprehensive control combine to make Axient Digital a product with significant impact on the wireless system market.

Peter Herr, Senior Manager, Professional Systems Channel Marketing said the following about Axient Digital, “The entire system is built on an incredibly innovative and rock solid RF architecture that truly has no equal.  Couple that with audio performance that could only come from Shure, Axient Digital is the high tier wireless solution that delivers in any mission critical application – from leading stages to premium corporate AV. ”

Watch the Shure Axient Digital video.

Find out more about Axient Digital here.

3. Barco UDX 4K Laser Phosphor Projectors

Barco UDX projector

As laser phosphor projectors go, Barco has been a true leader of the technology in the AV industry, and at InfoComm 2017 Barco certainly “brought it” with UDX. Designed for large venues and live events, the Barco UDX range combines high performance in a compact and rugged design. Five models brings reliable, razor-sharp and high-brightness images to every type of event or venue – with the customer fully in mind in terms of design.

Carl Rijsbrack, VP Events and ProAV at Barco states.“Events live and die with the experience they bring spectators. With 4K resolution and unmatched colors, UDX really delivers on the front. But at the same time, it is set to become the favorite with event companies as it is incredibly compact and easy to maintain.” He continues, “We involved our customers closely during the development of our brand-new UDX to focus on their needs and challenges. The result is a projector platform that allows rental houses and venue owners to deliver exceptional audience experiences while reducing installation time and cost. It’s designed and built with our customers, for our customers.”

Watch the Barco UDX video.

For more information on Barco UDX and the UDX line see here.

4. Stewart Filmscreen/Pufferfish® – PufferSphere®

stewart-filmscreen-and-pufferfish_infocomm17

One of the most disruptive products I’ve seen showcased by a screen manufacturer. As a result of extensive research and development between Stewart Filmscreen and Pufferfish® – PufferSphere® challenges flat panel display technology by opening up a world of possibilities for better communication, engagement, and interaction. This next generation technology combines extraordinary form and unique interactivity, expanding the potential for engagement across a range of applications including use in museums and attractions, education & research, events, marketing or science communications, data visualization and other tactile applications.

Shannon Townley, CEO at Stewart Filmscreen had this to say when discussing the company’s partnership with Pufferfish, “Our part of the process involves the coating, but the people at Pufferfish have a real desire to bring ingenuity to the marketplace. The spherical market is something that’s becoming much more popular, and so as partners we wanted to collaborate and figure out how we could come together and show the market in a best of breed setting how we could allow folks to become more immersed from a video standpoint.”

Information on Pufferfish can be found here.

5. Crestron Mercury

Crestron mercury II

Another one of the major launches at ISE 2017, Crestron showcased Crestron® Mercury™ which transforms meeting rooms into highly effective collaboration spaces. Combining necessary conferencing features in one easy to use device, Mercury enables people to work together and share content irrespective of location. Exceptional full-duplex audio and optional HD video provide an exceptional meeting experience for all participants. Integrated room scheduling and corporate directory access help to maximize efficiency. Mercury is secure, easy to deploy, easy to manage, and provides room usage data as part of a complete managed enterprise.

Jeff Singer, Executive Director, Product Marketing at Crestron, when asked about how Crestron Mercury disrupts the market responded, “Meetings are frustrating because other companies develop conferencing software that locks you into their platform. You have to buy their hardware and software, and they don’t work with other conferencing solutions. Crestron Mercury works with any conferencing application, so whatever guests, clients, vendors, or remote participants are running on their devices, everything just works seamlessly. Crestron Mercury can even be setup from the browser-based page to natively run Skype® for Business or Zoom, so you don’t even need to bring a laptop or tablet into the room to make video conference calls, and it still works with anything else participants may bring into the room.”

Watch this video as Steve Samson, Executive Director Business Development demonstrates Crestron Mercury:

See more information on Crestron Mercury here.

6: NEC Collaboration powered by ThinkHub

NEC T1V_ThinkHub.jpg

NEC Display Solutions has partnered with T1V to power collaboration with the ThinkHUB, one of my disruptive picks at InfoComm 2015. ThinkHub is a multiuser software application designed to help teams to ideate, visualize, and problem solve. By consolidating all information on a large-format touchscreen, ThinkHub transforms traditional meetings into more proactive, effective sessions that drive conversations, positively impact performance levels, and that physically alter the workspace. Content can be shared to ThinkHub via USB drive or by sharing the device screen. ThinkHub Standard can run on LAN or WAN environment.

Richard Ventura, Vice President of Business Development and Solutions at NEC Display Solutions of America states, “The NEC Collaboration Powered by ThinkHub is disruptive to the overall industry because it goes beyond traditional collaboration technology such as unified communications, whiteboarding, and video conferencing apps to consider how organizations want to collaborate and interact.  Five key features make NEC Display’s ThinkHub solution truly disruptive: True BYOD – featuring MultiUser AirConnect with MOD (Mirror Own Device) Mode, Multisite – all participants having access to the same information in real-time, Canvas – providing the ability to zoom in and out on the canvas and have a surface area that is 20 times larger than the physical touchscreen, Touch control – once a Windows PC or Mac is attached to the Hub wirelessly, users have full control of their computers via the ThinkHub interface, including full KVM and Video, and compatibility with Skype for Business and other business applications.”

Watch the video:

More information on NEC Collaboration powered by ThinkHUB can be found here.

7. Prysm new software features

PrysmBoothInfocomm2017

I had a meeting with Prysm at InfoComm 2017 that convinced me of the company’s dedication and commitment to providing further enhanced and strategic visual collaboration solutions for end users. The company announced new functionality for its digital workplace platform as follows:

Co-browsing – allows all Prysm participants accessing content via an approved mobile device to view and interact with web content. Prysm is the first to offer web application co-browsing among teams, enabling all users to make edits while empowering the content owner to monitor permissions and even view content in a secure manner.

Quick Start with video conference integration – enables employees to access Prysm’s digital workplace platform without logging in to provide an instant start to meetings. It brings together content and advanced video conferencing into a single experience, including rooms equipped with advanced video conferencing solutions that are underutilized due to their complexity and lack of interoperability.

New mobile user interface (UI) – makes the mobile experience of the Prysm digital workplace platform faster, simpler and more personalized.

David Schweer, Director of Product Marketing at Prysm had this to say, “Through the release of the new features for our digital workplace platform – including web application co-browsing, Quick Start with video conference integration and new mobile user interface – we are helping our enterprise customers and their employees drive workplace efficiency and productivity no matter the location, device or individual application preferences. As companies invest millions each year in technology expenses, they need to maximize these investments by deploying disruptive solutions that are open and agnostic to enable seamless integration between applications. Silos and vendor lock-in lead to inefficiencies and revenue loss. We are committed to providing our customers with best-of-breed collaboration approaches that foster team agility and creativity to ultimately usher in better business insights.”

For more on these solutions see here.

Part 2 is here.

me peets

With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, The Edge of AV, EdTech Focus and The Show Corner. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.

Find out more about Corey on LinkedIn and on Twitter @Cbmoss.