Tag Archives: 2013

Make pinching your touchscreen a reality

We’ve all gotten used to the idea of pinching, sliding and prodding our touchscreen devices but we’d never expect to actually pick up a piece of the action. MIT’s Media Lab has created the option with an elasticated touchscreen that lets you experience “2.5D”, a dimension that has not been mentioned in the technology world before. The prototype, which has been named Obake, looks to bring even more touch to the touchscreen — using actuators, depth cameras, a projector, and a silicone screen to make pinch-to-zoom and other gestures a 3D reality.

The silicon display is supposed to mimic the fluidity of water whilst still allowing the gestures to create geometric shapes. Due to the large set up needed to create this dimension, it’s unlikely we will see this on the next smart phone, but it is likely to become a create concept for 3D displays in tourist attractions and educational purposes.

Check out the video below to see the set up behind the magic and see the “screen” in action.

Just when you thought 4k was enough – the 8K evolution

You can always count on technology to move faster than we can handle and just as we thought we were getting the hang of what 4K is all about, the upgrade has already begun to stir interest.

With 4K technology only just becoming included in specs for most visual equipment, it’s surprising to think that experts are already talking about doubling such a high quality resolution but 8K has been predicted to be in regular use by 2020.

By regular of course, we don’t mean all your living rooms will be filled with such high definition, as the screen would need to be huge. Otherwise known as Ultra HD, 4K refers to a resolution of around 4,000 pixels in width and 2,000 high, creating a size equivalent to four HD screens. The amount of content available is still lacking and therefore some films that have been shot digitally do not reach their full potential on the screen.

panasonics_145_inch_8k_resolution_plasma_tv_2joqbThe 7680×4320 resolution expected of 8K has already been achieved in certain technology, such as JVC’s E-shift projection which doubles the resolution from a 4K device and has been used recently in flight simulators. As this evolution in resolution proves, it’s vital to future proof your system as the modern age is no longer an era where old and new technology can integrate with ease. Due to its larger need of bandwidth, use fibre optic cabling to allow for this expansions and look out for scalers and players upgrading (for example, Sony have already realised a BluRay player than can upscale to 4K).

To future proof your system, use 4K now and use fibre optic cabling (HDCP over fibre optic is still being worked on) to allow for larger bandwidth in the future. Content for 4K is currently very slim, so compatibility is currently a slight issue with content having to be scaled down for say, a BluRay player. Large format displays are bound to appreciate this advancement with 8K having the capabilities of stretching across say, an outdoor surface 300 feet wide. Although it may seem like something too far in the future, it’s likely manufacturers will start to embrace the Ultra HD tendencies, so we thought we’d give you the heads up.

 

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A chart showing the differences between resolutions.

 

Medium visit Paragon HQ for training day

medium paragonHere at Paragon Multimedia, we are always trying to further our team’s knowledge when it comes to the audio-visual world. Whether it’s newer staff learning the basics, or keeping up to date with the latest trends, we like to keep a close contact with other experts in the industry to help develop out product knowledge.

This time round, help came in the form of Medium’s James Osborne, who managed to break down the mathematical formulas for projection to some of our latest recruits. He also bought along Chris Ault from LG, who updated the team on the latest innovations from the display gurus, including the vivid transparent displays available and this year’s biggest, current talking point – the video wall. Make sure to keep checking in on our Tech Zone for product information from these specialist areas.

Chalene Chandrasiri was representing Peerless AV for the day, who are slowly becoming more and more recognised here in the UK for their large variety of mounts and brackets. Again, video wall compatibilities were brought up and Peerless is likely to be a name you’ll be hearing much more of in the near future.

Thanks again to our visitors! If you would like to partner up with us to teach us more about your products please feel free to contact us.

 

Paragon Team

From L-R Iram, Lily, Steve, Di, Charlie and Stuart

True Colours display video wall expertise

IMG_0322Midwich’s technical division True Colours joined forces with many of their manufacturers on Friday to cover all aspects of a technology that continues to get bigger and bolder – the video wall. With multi-display systems continuing to spread throughout sectors other than corporate and education, the distributors bought together Dexon, NEC, Exterity, Peerless AV and AMX to discuss all elements of the technology at the Runnymede Hotel in Egham, UK.

Iain Campbell, Sales Director at True Colours, opened the morning explaining that video walls can be used for more than just digital signage, as they have personally dealt with the army and banks, proving its use in centralising monitoring. With this array of opportunities, video wall sales are expected to reach 12,800 this year, with that increasing further to 16,700 in 2014. There are certain factors which are imperative to creating a successful display system and many clients may not realise this. Dexon were on hand to explain their latest wall controller technology which offers an easy input. NEC had a wide range of screens on display with very narrow bezels and advanced fan technology to avoid overheating and prolong life usage, including the 3×3 display being used for the presentation.

With IPTV becoming a popular part of digital signage and therefore video walls as well, leading networkers Exterity provided a lesson in how internet television can be streamed across a building without using up all your bandwidth. AMX’s Jeremy Slater provided a success story to demonstrate how key personalised control systems can be for large displays, while more recent recruit Peerless AV brought mounting to the foreground, as many clients forget the importance of a secure and adjustable bracket.IMG_0330

After LG’s 3D video wall grabbing so much attention at ISE this year, it’s apparent that 2013 could be the year for the video wall, so if you would like more information on how it could benefit your company, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bett 2013 – Action from the show

If you were unfortunate enough to miss this year’s bustling BETT show, do not fear, for our team were able to catch some of the stand-out products live in action! From interactive whiteboards to ultra short throw projectors, there was something for every educational establishment at the new ExCel venue in London. Click the video below to find out more and for more information on products at BETT, check out our Tech Zone section for features on some of the key factors for future education.

ISE 2013 breaks records to celebrate 10th birthday

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Paragon Multimedia was lucky enough to be one of the 45,000 visitors through the doors of the rammed RAI in Amsterdam, making it the best-attended AV trade show ever held. With 900 exhibitors also beating the world record, ISE 2013 consisted of twelve halls filled with new innovative technologies to catch our eyes.

Mike Blackman, the Managing Director for Integrated Systems Events was thrilled with the result, explaining, “ISE 2013 demonstrated more clearly than ever that the electronic systems integration industry is capable of defying economic headwinds and encouraging its stakeholder companies toward continued growth.”

Similar to its American equivalent CES, ISE became the location of many launches by large manufacturers, including Crystal Displays touchscreen transparent LCD, Lighthouse’s flexible LED and Sony’s lamp-free 3LCD projector – the first of its kind.

One thing that was lacking was any evidence of OLED, which we have reported on previously and is supposedly the future of large display screens. Instead, 3D seemed to be the main interest by the visual enthusiasts, with LG’s beautiful video wall taking centre stage with its almost bezel-free frame.

Wireless audio was another focal point with the leaders being the likes of Peerless Audio, Sehnheisser and NuVo. Although the technology was often showcased to benefit a home cinema environment, it’s apparent that less cabling will be appreciated by all sectors, including corporate and education. We will have more on this coming soon to the Tech Zone, so make sure to keep a lot out if your audio system needs a revamp.

We hope that whoever attended ISE had a great time and we plan to have much more of a presence next year, as it continues to grow and grow. If you would like any more information on any of the products of concepts mentioned, please feel free to drop us an inquiry via our Tech Zone.

BETT focus: The importance of audio in classrooms

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Despite taking up half of the term “audio-visual”, the impact of audio on offer at BETT seemed to be lacking. Although many of the latest interactive screens had integrated speakers, there was only a small cross-section of companies offering speakers or microphones to enhance both the classroom and a presentation theatre within an education establishment.

Studies have been carried out to prove the impact that classroom noise can have on students and Lightspeed’s latest Exciter technology takes this research into account. According to a study from 1994, a professor of Audiology proved that ELL (English Language Learning) children were affected by ambient noise in a classroom. Word recognition by these pupils was affected by volume, distance from the speaker and how the audio was distributed, but all of the children; both native and non-native had better understanding when little or no additional noise was created, through issues like feedback, or buzzing electronics. In a current situation where classrooms are full to the brim, distance cannot often be altered, so teachers need to be as audible as possible, regardless of the room size.

Lightspeed have taken these ideas to create a speaker that enhances both audibility (the volume) and intelligibility (the clarity) in the classroom by using a panel style instead of a cone-shaped speaker. This helps distribute soft consonant sounds and creates a clear sound without having to use maximum volume. This simple yet effective technology creates a natural voice for the teacher and feedback is eliminated regardless of where the teacher is located in the room.

 

Lightspeed's TopCat speaker

Lightspeed’s TopCat speaker

If you’re interested in enhancing your audio in either the classrooms or would like to upgrade your school hall acoustics, our free health checks can offer you advice and support regarding your specific needs. We can carry out acoustic tests, as well as finding ways to minimize feedback and ambient noise, so contact us via our query forms and we can get back to you.

 

BETT Focus: Classroom Collaboration and BYOD

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Despite a few visitors complaining about the lack of public Wi-Fi on offer at an event that promotes technology, the BETT show was trending on Twitter for the second day in a row! The demand for Wi-Fi is proof that BYOD (Bring your own device) is a theme that will occur in all sectors now – including education – as we see tablet computers being tapped all around the hall. Many studies including Ofsted reports confirm that a more interactive lesson engages students and therefore many companies have created software that incorporates BYOD into teaching time.

Most of the software exhibited today offers flexible access to collaborating via Apple, Android and Microsoft devices, so you do not have to supply the hardware to the pupil. Many of the manufacturers including the likes of Vivitek, DisplayNote and Samsung have created features which include allowing annotation from presenter and pupil, content sharing and instant response to quizzes and more, which all help the teacher to assess the grades of the class whilst still in the lesson. Although this interactive learning may seem fun to pupils, there will always be some that take advantage of a new medium and use in for non-educational purposes. Luckily the teacher is able to view and display anyone’s screen, as well as all their annotations being saved for you.

Using a tablet PC as a way to control your main screen gives the teacher mobility around the class and allows all forms of content to be streamed across the platforms, whether it’s a video on YouTube or and extract from a book. With all this in mind, it seems apparent that this will soon be the norm in all areas of education so if you would like to future-proof your classroom, please feel free to contact us for more information on the range of software available.

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Day 1 at BETT 2013

IMAG0251Despite clashing with equally popular AV event ISE this year, the DLR line was still rammed with teachers and techies heading to the opening day of BETT at its new home in the ExCel. Plenty of children were also in tow to check out the new technologies and were likely to have plenty of fun as once again the interactivity was in an abundance.

A new piece of jargon to many will be BYOD (standing for Bring Your Own Device), which is playing a dominant role on many manufacturers’ stalls. Brands such as Vivitek and Genee are showcasing their own new software that assists collaboration between teacher and pupils through tablet PCs, along with DisplayNote who seem slightly ahead of the game due to additional features, including the teacher being able to personally message a pupil if they have an incorrect answer, saving embarrassment in the classroom.

The evolution of lamp free projection continues with more products becoming more energy efficient thanks to higher lumens and less power consumption and visualisers are getting smaller despite the definition getting higher.

Wherever you turn you will see an interactive whiteboard being scribbled on by visitors, which is surprising considering the recent jump many brands have taken into using interactive LED and LCD screens instead. Many of the screens being demoed today are dual touch, however a few are yet to reach a true multi-touch experience unlike Clevertouch or the new Smart table, however we shall go hunting for this, along with other innovations again tomorrow.

The DisplayNote software in action on a tablet.

The DisplayNote software in action on a tablet.

For more updates including video interviews and product reviews, please check out our Twitter and on our Tech Zone.

Paragon @ BETT 2013

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With our Tech Zone continuing to grow with useful information on the innovative, what better place to attend than this year’s BETT show, bursting with an array of technologies enhancing the educational environment. As a technology partner who speaks your language, the Paragon team will be interacting amongst the other 30,000 visitors over the three days to research the latest audio-visual equipment and report back, including projection, digital signage and interactive whiteboards.

Last year, Paragon Multimedia were pleased to see an increase in some of the new technologies that revolved around touch screen panels, 3D content and the integration of iPads into the classroom. Since then, the evolution has continued and so we shall continue to update you on products we find may be suitable for you.

358107231_fbd3c0e06dAs well as bringing you daily updates via our website and Twitter, we will also be conducting video interviews with industry experts and showing you live usage of some of the great equipment on display. The BETT arena will hold host to an array of different speakers from different areas of the education field and will even include an appearance and talk from celebrity scientist Prof. Brian Cox (Friday 12.30). Although there will be a lot of schools in attendance, there will also be plenty for those who are in charge of teaching within the workplace, thanks to office friendly products and ideas in the talks specific to a more corporate environment.

This is only the start of the multimedia platform that is Paragon’s Tech Zone but we can’t evolve it without your help! If you are unable to get to the event but would like some specific information, we can collect it for you and share any reviews or news we have found on the day. Feel free to contact our marketing team if you have any requests.

Are you visiting BETT and a bit worried about where to start? One of our consultants will be on site and happy to guide you around products you may have interest in. Contact Diana to arrange a meeting via dianabeckinsale@paragonmultimedia.com.