Notes from InfoComm 2015


Mersive

  • This was the most interesting product design for collaboration that I saw. The company's founder started out in higher ed, and is working hard to develop new features, with strong and active collaboration with many organizations (CIA, Wharton school of business…)
  • New features under development include Beacons to automatically configure screen sharing, and other media types natively handled without video streaming. Some very cool stuff coming up.
  • This seemed like the best balance between science fiction and practical. I could easily see instructors and students adopting Mersive.
  • Can be deployed either as a hardware appliance or windows app that could be loaded on any standard pc.
  • Workflow feels more fluid than Crestron AirMedia and similar branded versions of that platform.
  • For this kind of product, we'll need to make sure we allocate budget for updates after the first year, and to make sure we have staff trained to manage/update/deploy the system.

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Crestron

  • Speakers - profoundly unimpressed by their ceiling speakers. They were described basically as commodity components, assembled competently. Not inspiring. It looks like their speakers are being sold primarily as value-add to existing projects, to lock in a higher share of project cash rather than providing a really quality product. The fact that they're dangling longer warranty periods for the entire project as an incentive to buy their speakers feels a bit icky, too.
  • We're already looking at Crestron CaptureLive HD for event/lecture capture, and have tried AirMedia for collaboration and screen sharing.

Tannoy speakers

  • Much more interesting design. Company focused on speaker design, not as a simple value-add upselling option
  • Speaker design (shape of cabinet, arrangement of components, etc…) produces higher quality sound
  • Their demo room was pretty impressive - ceiling speakers from various vendors, head-to-head with Tannoy models. But, sadly, no Crestron speakers to compare with, because they weren't deemed worth comparing. That's valuable data there, too.

Microsoft Surface Hub panel

  • Very nice multitouch screens.
  • Amazing responsive Surface ink, on a wall-sized display. Microsoft has totally nailed digital ink. I haven't found anything that comes close to the inking experience on Windows and OneNote using Microsoft's pens. And I've been looking. Hard. They've definitely got a strong advantage there. Everything else feels like drawing with crayons or fiddly gadgets. Surface ink feels like writing with a pen. As it should.
  • Runs standard windows software - we could in theory run Mersive Solstice on a Hub for collaboration.
  • Expensive - $20,000 for 80" screen, $7,000 for 60" (?) - check prices
  • Only able to show one additional device - windows only? Didn't see a way to push iOS/Android/Mac screens as video sources.

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Panasonic

  • Laser projectors
    • fantastic. Bright.
    • Solid state light source, sealed so no dust gets in to downgrade brightness over time
    • Amazing brightness and image quality.
    • We didn't see the 20K lumen version, which will be significantly brighter than the ones we saw
  • Motion tracking PTZ video camera.
    • uses facial recognition and motion tracking to follow presenter
    • likely too new to use in production (first release in September)
    • would need lav mic anyway.
    • There's no info on the web for this yet, because it's still under R&D, so here's a photo:

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Soundtube

  • Sound isolation speakers for kiosks etc. very effective. Not sure we have a use for this, though.

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Trutouch multitouch displays

  • Android powered large touch screen. Looked ok.
  • Not sure what value this adds over another touch display - android managed interface?

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Vaddio

  • PTZ video camera with HDMI and USB out
  • Lanyard remote has IR trackers for camera and microphone for presenter audio. Could be a handy way to set up a presenter, by just handing them a lanyard (and battery pack) instead of dealing with troubleshooting motion tracking

Wolfvision

  • Document camera was very nice, but much more expensive
  • Collaboration appliance not as good as Mersive etc.

Oblong Mezzanine

  • Amazing collaboration multi screen media sharing. Demos well, but suited more for many screens in a single group, rather than many groups in one room.
  • Felt like a science fiction / CSI glitzy multiscreen system. Looked awesome, but to really benefit, you'd need to be pairing identically-configured sets of screens at remote locations. We don't really need to do that - we're looking more for sharing resources at a single, local pod in a f2f workgroup setting. But still, impressive stuff.
  • Also, seemed more flashy than others - seemed like more training might be needed to properly use it.

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See Also