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Paragon’s Top 5 finds at BETT 2012



Despite being bombarded with button-less screens, enlightening projectors and general technology overload, the Paragon marketing team managed to pick out what they thought were the best new products in the education sector. Despite BETT exhibiting all kinds of technology, we have stuck to those products which feature in the audio-visual aspect and tried not to get too distracted by the games surrounding us. So here is Paragon’s top five picks from BETT 2012

1.Microsoft Surface – created by Samsung and Xface



Despite this innovative product circulating the trade shows for several years, it wasn’t until late last year that the multi-touch table was available to buy in the UK. Here at BETT, you can see how the oversized tablet means classes can work in groups, all having ago on the screen simultaneously and making learning fun. Teachers who have used Surface in their classrooms say that it is great for improving primary school ages to listen and work together, rather than just learning academic subjects. Other objects can interact with the screen, such as ID cards which can be swiped on the screen and open up a pupil’s work. Surface is looking to branch out into the retail sector soon.

2. Designmate 3D

Again, another business which has been around for over twenty years, developing 3D animated content for higher education. At BETT, a large crowd was pulled in due to their mini cinemas, showcasing their 3D simulations for sciences and maths, which used 3D glasses and were compatible with any large screen. Despite such engaging and educational graphics, this Indian company are yet to brand out into the UK, so make sure to watch out for this name in the future.

3. Insight 360 – created by eInstruction

Insight 360 is an intuitive and fully-integrated software programme that means teaching and learning comes easy. A portable interactive whiteboard can be held by the teacher and then connected to the main projected whiteboard on the screen, full of functions and capabilities to write and draw with a stylus. As well as being used on eInstruction’s Mobi 360, the Insight 360 software can also be downloaded onto an iPad. By using a Spark 360 (a small response pad), the children can be tested throughout the class and automatic results can be seen by the teacher on their device.  The whole concept makes for a calm and engaging classroom, where instant results can be found.

4. e-Station S/Z/T – created by B & S Media

Korea based B & S Media have managed to take all the concepts of audio visual and compact it all into one smart podium. From first glances, the podium is futuristic and powerful, bound to help any speaker’s confidence soar. The cabinet-style podium includes a control touch panel, an LCD tablet, high quality microphone and capabilities for external devices, meaning meetings can be completely at your fingertips. Adjustments can be made for your own comfort and there is even a locking system to make the product burglar-proof. Despite it looking like a more corporate piece of equipment, there is no saying this could not go down brilliantly in higher education.

5. Qumi HD pocket projector – created by Vivitek

One of the keys factors of technological evolution is size. Size affects, practicality, shipping prices and enhances the possibilities. With this in mind, Qumi is definitely a product to keep your eye on. Despite its compact size (being lighter than a paperback), this LED projector does not lack in HD crispness, high brightness and varying connectivity. With an integrated media player and document reader, Qumi can project a widescreen image of more than 2 metres diagonal, making it popular not only in the education sector but in home cinema and gaming as well. As they say, great things come in small packages!

Paragon @ BETT 2012

When you first walk into the London Olympia Hall, being thrown leaflets and pens from every direction and walking passed stalls just to escape the bustle of the entrance, there is one thing that screams out to our marketing team. And that was that we wished we went to school now and not five or so years ago. Everything looks fun and exciting, an array of products are on display to make certain senses tingle and the strangest part is that it is all in the name of learning.

Despite the fact BETT’s trade show has been going for over 25 years, today is Paragon’s first time here and the fact that such a large venue is crammed with so much technology, solely for educational purposes, makes you wonder what sort of products were shown here in 1985. Nonetheless, the fact one gets lost around the National Hall proves the quantity of both hardware and software on offer in the industry now and particularly audio-visual.

Around 30,000 people will pass through the doors over the three days, from all over the world and Paragon bumped into many promising pieces of equipment that are bound to shine themselves into our classrooms very soon. With BETT covering technology that caters for all stages of education, small children run around playing with Smart boards or taking example classes with said equipment.

It appeared the most popular innovation was touch-sensitive screens of all sizes and proved Smart would have a lot more competition this year, despite leading the interactive whiteboard race previously. The Apple iPad may have doubled up as a geek’s girlfriend replacement back in 2010, but despite the attention over at the Apple stand, there are many Android-based tablets scattered around BETT, which lower in cost and just as durable.

Overall, it’s fair to say the innovation is never going to slow down, with promising manufacturers from around the world still fighting to get into the UK market. With that said, we have collected a small snippet of our new found favourite products in the AV industry.

For more on the products at BETT 2012, check out our Top 5 Audio-visual finds at BETT article.