In today’s Health and Safety conscious world, Paragon Multimedia has introduced our new and value adding In-Service inspection service. Equipment like projectors and smart boards are often installed and left without regular checking or servicing until an accident happens or until they break. Providing equipment that is functional, safe and fit for purpose is paramount for pupil’s safety and for your peace of mind.
Last week saw the first AV Boot Camp taking place at Sandhurst’s Military Academy, where sales teams from across the UK gathered for a full-on day of practical workshops to enhance knowledge and skills in the audio-visual industry. The free event, hosted by CUK Audio, Christie, Lightware Visual Engineering and Tack Training, allowed employees of all technical levels to experience the key areas of integration. Sales, audio, projection and signal management were covered by the technical experts that allowed the guests to get a hands-on approach to what they sell on a day to day basis.
The event also allowed companies to network and discover the latest technologies from the manufacturers involved and despite the small amount of time allocated, the boot camp was a great success full of useful information. Four of our staff attended and completed the boot camp, including Steve, Di, Lily and Jay and we would like to thank all involved in creating such a unique opportunity!
One of Europe’s largest electronics shows ISE will be returning to Amsterdam in February and we hope to be reporting from their to share all the latest news. We’ve been researching and have found a few top picks we feel will get a lot of attention of the three days at the RAI centre.
With a thin-bezel design on all 31 models of their speakers and subwoofers, Proficient Audio will be ones to listen out for at ISE. This new Protege series sees the largest product line change for the manufacturer and by eliminating the plastic rim these sleek speakers can blend better into walls and ceilings. Despite their minimalistic aesthetics, the acoustics and engineering behind the product are still the up to speed with rival products, making the Protégé series a real hit for interior designers and modern working environments.
4K Video Distribution from Crestron
4K is bound to continue being a buzzword you hear around 2014 but many in the business have been worrying about the lack of content available Crestron have tried to bridge the gap in the market with their latest DigitalMedia matrix switchers. Ranging from 8×8 to a gigantic 128×128 input/output, the switchers embody a new range of HDMI over HDBaseT extenders, which can transmit and receive 4K content using standard CAT5e cables. The HD-EXT4-C and HD-EXT3-C models can support 4K signals and send content up to 100 metres via the HDBaseT without any degradation of signal. The transmitters can be easily rack mounted or mounted in a single gang wall box.
Presenting and collaborating is an area many manufacturers are concentrating on due the fact a lot of research has returned problems with log in speed and sharing data. AMX’s ENZO series tackles this instantly – from logging in, to access documents, to sharing them. By using the cloud, you can access your documents via the cloud on popular application DropBox and instead of the faff of signing in, a QR code linked up to your mobile while allow you access. The QR code concept is also used for when your audience wish to access the documents so passwords aren’t needed but security is kept due to ENZO deleting all documents from the machine when you log off.
Vutec Theater Art System Multi-Vu
After winning awards at CES, and CEDIA, ISE displays Vutec’s all-in-one entertainment experience. What appears as a framed piece of art (or a personal photo if you wish) descends at the touch of a remote control to unveil a flat panel and a motorised projection screen. The projection screen offers several masking options and the system allows you to add multiple screens if you wish, making it ideal for a style-conscious environment.
If you would like further information on any of these products or a similar concept for your business, please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Despite only just settling back into the daily grind after the Christmas holidays, BETT has once again come around with a bang and it’s time to start planning your visit. The annual gathering of all things education and technology is back in London from 22-25th January and after 30 years the devices may have gotten smaller but the market has gotten much larger.
When you look back on how much the classroom has changed in the last 30 years, the next 30 look to be truly game changing. With the current generation of children in education becoming almost instinctive when using technology, its usage within the classroom should be seamless. This year, you are bound to find products that allow a faff-free set up and instant, simultaneous access to information for teacher and pupils. Collaborative devices and cloud sharing are slowly becoming the norm and when the likes of Google are pairing up with Smart for such devices, you know it’s something worth looking into. BETT is the perfect opportunity to learn about the possibilities available as well as the individual products but we know it can be a lot to take in.
As always, Paragon Multimedia will be present at the event and happy to assist you, whether it’s reporting back with the latest innovations, recommend the best solution for your system or grab information for you if you’re unable to attend the event yourself. If you are planning on attending, here are a few tips to make sure you get the optimum from your visit:
Plan! Think about what resources your establishment currently requires or needs so that you know what you’re looking for before you get there, as there is a lot to get lost in. Do some research on manufacturers exhibiting that supply these resources so that you know where you’re heading on the day. If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to give us a call and we can guide you on what you should look out for depending on your specific requirements.
Learn! There are several seminars and presentations going on around the ExCel over the three days so make the most of your journey by extracting wisdom from industry experts. A timetable can be found on the BETT website and all sessions are CPD accredited.
Chat! Many of our partner suppliers will be on hand to do demonstrations of products and answer any questions we may not have answered for you before the event. If you don’t get all your answers, or are interested in taking your ideas further, we can book a meeting with you at your site to discuss this further. Furthermore, if the stall is too busy and you’d like to experience a product one on one, we offer free demonstrations that we can bring to site, so if you see something that interests you, please let us know. Our team will be picking out all the highlight products from the show and our post BETT report is bound to assist both those who did attend and those who were too busy to visit.
Paragon Multimedia specialise in Professional Audio Visual Installations from their offices in Berkshire, UK.
The largest electronic show in the world is back in Vegas and CES is filled with innovative technology set to amaze as always. Unfortunately, Paragon were unable take a trip over the pond but we have been keeping an eye on all the latest news to share with you. This year’s main attractions may have been in the gaming and wearable technology spectrum but there was still plenty of AV equipment and concepts set to stun, with Samsung particularly catching our eye with an array of products. We’ve listed our top three products from the show.
98-inch 8K screen
Whilst many manufacturers are filling the floor of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with 4K screens of all sizes, Samsung are skipping a step by unveiling a monolithic 98-inch screen in 8K. Also known as Quad Ultra HD, this 7680 x 4320 resolution was on display with a super sharp image but it seems bizarre when it seems 4K hasn’t quite flown off the shelves yet. We discussed 8K in detail last year, after Sharp showcased their screen back in 2010 and although it appears to still be in prototype format, it will be interesting to see if we all skip 4K and wait for the next best thing.
Home Automation IS the Future
It’s apparent this year that the home automation market has grown thanks to the increased use of tablets and wireless connectivity. In the corporate market, the likes of AMX and Crestron still appear strong when controlling an entire system but domestically Samsung is trying to get ahead of the rat race. Last year LG showcased its HomeChat system, which allowed users to text their controlled devices with commands from afar. Samsung plan to incorporate their new wearable technology along with features including the following:
- Control will now be possible over devices such as lighting and air conditioning from a smart device app elsewhere and voice commands will be possible via new TV remote controls.
- Cameras will be built into TVs and other appliances to allow Home View. This provides real-time video feeds to a user’s smartphone so that they have surveillance over their home whilst on the move.
- A new customer service technology allows appliances to notify the smartphone app if anything needs cleaning or replacing. For example, if a light goes out, you will receive an alert on your phone instantly.
All of these features could become very useful in a corporate environment and it wouldn’t surprise us if other manufacturers catch onto this in the future.
There is an array of curved screens on show at CES, a concept that seems to have had mixed reviews, including Samsung’s 105-inch 4K TV but a couple of prototypes appear to have taken it one step further with flexible OLEDs. Both LG and Samsung are exhibiting bendable screens, which allow the user to decide when they want an immersive curve and normal viewing can be restored with ease. On the Samsung, we’re not talking Rolf Harris wobble boards here but the opportunity to slightly curve either side of the display so that it rises out of the bezel, giving the impression of more depth.
In May this year, we reported how researchers at the University of Carolina had created a Brain Machine Interface – a tattoo-like wireless device that attached to the forehead and could therefore allow for a computer to be controlled by the brain itself. Google have taken on a similar approach for their Google Glass, with a “neck tattoo” that contains a tiny wireless microphone that can be used for any mobile device. The hands-free concept will connect to the device via Bluetooth, Infrared or other short-range technology and there are talks that could also have a power supply that uses energy from the user’s body.
According to the patent that was filed on 7th November, the throat microphone should help reduce the amount of street noise many current mobile users deal with. Although throat microphones are currently used in military environments and were originally used in World War II, business analysts are unsure whether something as permanent as a tattoo would be attractive to a mass market. This Motorola device could take years to be approved but it’s interesting to see how mobile communications are planning to evolve.
All of the major computer manufacturers have claimed that all VGA outputs will be replaced by DisplayPort and HDMI in the next couple of years. LVDS, the native signal that carries video around the computer is being replaced by DisplayPort by giants such as Intel and AMD but what does this mean for the AV industry?
Although DisplayPort is more suited to many of our requirements, HDMI is already used widely and is therefore a more likely choice. The actual cable will likely be replaced by CAT5e and CAT6 (also known as a twisted pair) and although CAT5 in common now, it’s worth making the gradual changeover now.
If you are using CAT5 but with VGA at each end, Vision have released a solution that sends VGA over a CAT5 cable. This device costs roughly the same as installing a 20m VGA cable anyway, so this solution is future proof and inexpensive.
With a similar concept, Vision’s HDMI solution can send the HDMI over CAT5e and CAT 6 cables whilst converting and amplifying the signal over all four twister pair wires.
Even more complex is HDBaseT, which allows up to five signals to pass through a single CAT6 cable without compression. This innovative technology is the first step in eliminating the need for a power supply and this will allow flat panels to become thinner and lighter but for now the concept is very expensive.
These particular products are likely to favour digital signage applications thanks to their affordable price and professional quality. If you would like further information on cables and networking, please feel free to contact us.
A report completed by Redshift Research has confirmed that the desire for video conferencing in all business is growing and that by 2016; over half of the business managers questioned want to be using it as their preferred communications tool. At the moment email and voice/conference calls are more popular but 76 per cent have admitted to using video conferencing at work, 56 per cent of which utilize the equipment at least once a week.
Using video conferencing tools at home such as Skype is still more common than in the workplace, with 83 per cent using the systems and most of these were in the 20-30 age group. Although desktops and laptops were the primary source for business video conferencing, conference room usage is expected to rise to 55 per cent in three years’ time. Mobile devices are on similar figures to the conference rooms, showing how important further collaboration development is for the AV market.
The three main reasons that caused managers favoured video meetings was the ability to hear everyone coherently, see eye contact and body language and the fact it is easy to use. We can offer an array of different systems dependent on size and usage, so please feel free to contact us so that you beat the boom.
According to a new report from eMarketer, a third of the British population now use a tablet at least once a month whether it’s their own, or shared by the family. It is predicted that by 2017 half of the population will be using a tablet regularly, due to a recent variety in prices. With the likes of Tesco’s small Hudl being far cheaper than current favourite iPad, it’s expected that Apple’s sales will drop in coming years.
The growing use of tablets in the education sector has had a real effect, with the under 12 audience rapidly growing and if these predictions are anything to go by, tablets will be a norm in every classroom. With this and the fact that several corporate companies are embracing the BYOD format, clients should be looking into future proofing their AV system. The majority of equipment on the market is now compatible with both Android and iOS devices and the applications are endless.
If you are interested using tablets for presentation, collaboration or control, please contact us and our consultants can arrange a free on site demo for your team.
Back in May this year, you would have seen our news article on Microsoft’s Illumiroom project, which uses projection and a Kinect to create an immersive space for gaming and films. Despite being every tech lover’s dream, it appears we won’t be seeing this in our living rooms anytime soon, according to a senior Microsoft executive.
According to their head of product planning, the set up could cost up to thousands of dollars per customer, which just isn’t plausible and so for now the concept will remain as “just research”. Despite the Xbox One being launched, there was no specific talk linking to the Illumiroom and apparently many were sceptical due to the average customer not owning a projector for home use. With this and the BBC’s visual equivalent of surround sound mentioned in the last few months, it will be interesting to see if any further developments appear by the end of 2013.