October 18th, 2013 found us at the Almo Pro A/V E4 Tour, reveling in the excitement and moving with the crowd through exhibit booths and A/V training courses throughout the day. Almo started at 8am with a welcoming outdoor breakfast, followed by the keynote speaker, Gary Kayye, who delivered an amazing presentation on his predictions for the future of A/V. Kayye started out with his review of what’s been happening in the industry, listing digital signage as the fastest-growing market at almost 40% growth in the USA and 18% worldwide in the past year. Kayye then went on to give his predictions for the upcoming year, including more double-digit growth in the digital signage industry as well as his prediction for the “death of lumens” in display technology. He wrapped up with an open-mic Q&A segment and closed out his speech so the crowd could head over to the main building for exhibits and classes.
The group then filtered over to see what new concepts and equipment the exhibitors had in store. Peppered between courses from the “Everything You Need to Know About Ultra Hi Def 4K” and “Metrics and Analytics for ROI in Digital Signage,” attendees stopped by our booth which hosted NEC and Hiperwall, as well as C2G and Christie Digital to see gorgeous displays and learn from informative team members. Almo also provided a buffet-style lunch as well as snacks and beverages, and wrapped up the show with a prize drawing with winners receiving anything from t-shirts all the way up to flat-screen TVs. The mingle-and-network atmosphere provided an opportunity for attendees and vendors alike to ask and answer questions. We made more than a few new friends as we got pulled aside by several attendees to compliment the AM-100 (with In-Wall Box) that we were showing at our booth!
We shared our giant corner booth with Hiperwall and NEC, who we teamed up with for a trio of display items. To the outer edge of the booth, Premier set up our PSD-EB84 floor stand with the RTM-L rotating mount, shown with NEC’s V552– a part of the NEC Value Line. Mark Weniger of NEC explained the beauty of the display to us, saying “it’s LED, lightweight and very slim. We have it running with an internal PC. The great thing about the V552 is that we’ve got a full line from a 32″ to an 80″, but we also just announced touch-overlay panels, which can screw into the top and bottom of the V-Series displays and the customer can use the touch-overlay or remove it to just use the actual screen.”
We also demo’ed our MVWC-3×3 Video Cart, in a 2×3 configuration- showcasing its adaptability and versatility, holding six X463UN NEC displays. Weniger pointed out that “the screens also come with an expansion slot if you want to slide a PC in them. The software is built into the displays so you can do all the way up to a 10×10 video wall using the internal Tile Matrix Software.” To the other side of the booth we had our PSD-BW Mobile Nesting Cart, customized to hold a 7,500-Lumen WUXGA projector from NEC. All three featured displays used in the booth featured Hiperwall software, which wowed everyone and kept the team members busy answering questions about the set-up in it’s entirety.
Jeff Greenberg of Hiperwall took a few minutes to go over the capabilities of Hiperwall software and how it can be used across multiple displays.
Hiperwall is a software system that allows you to manage how content is delivered to a set of coordinated displays. So here we’ve got 8 displays: 6 in a video wall, a stand alone and a projector. And from this one control screen on my PC, I can take some content and just move it around on this control station and whatever I do here is actually happening on the displays. It’s used for trade shows, it’s used for digital signage in general, it’s used for command and control, education, entertainment… any time there’s a need to deliver content- one piece or many- to a set of displays in a coordinated fashion, this is the way to do it. And the entire thing in it’s infrastructure is just IP based. So any place you can run an network cable, we can put one or more displays and control it all centrally from this one computer. There is no maximum of displays to use the software; however big you want to make your ethernet network- we can just fill it up with displays and with feeds. We can do data feeds like a spreadsheet, we can do video feeds as with a live video feed from a camera, and as many feeds as you want with as many displays as you want. Command and control is the biggest market for us, digital signage is second, and education… actually education and digital signage are pretty close. (But) digital signage is huge. So digital signage will probably start to close the gap on command and control. But, currently, we’re doing a lot of command and control all over the world.
In speaking about Almo in general, we also managed to pull aside Ken Weir from Authorized Audio/Video, Inc. for a moment to give his take on the event:
We’ve enjoyed the show, especially with all of the technologies changing, particularly HDMI and HDCP. Looking at what the manufacturers have done to provide new solutions for that and doing this all under one roof here in Orange County has been very positive. We can bring all of our guys down here whereas other shows that are too far away- it’s too impossible to get everyone there. We went to the EDID/HDMI/HDCP training session that Kramer put on and that was really helpful. A lot of my guys weren’t really sure what that was and we’ve always had to have our engineers handle that and now I think that it’s something that my standard techs have more of a handle on.
Toward the end of the day, we had the opportunity to sit with Joshua Kairoff, CTS over at Sharp Electronics, and ask him a few questions. Kairoff was more than helpful, answering everything very informatively and even touring us around to explain different aspects of Almo throughout the banquet hall area.
Premier Mounts: Thanks for taking to us, Josh! So, what is Sharp showing today at the expo?
Joshua Kairoff: Today we’re showing some of our different touch screens. We’re showing our consumer line, and some of our professional line. We’re supporting Almo and the people who are Almo’s customers. Sharp has been an active partner with Almo for a long time.
PM: Awesome! What has been your experience with the show so far today?
JK: Today has been a really good show. good traffic, good questions… but that’s kind of the signature of Almo’s shows. Almo has very good attendees and most people consider it well worth their time- both manufacturers and attendees. This show’s been a very good one with lots of good questions and good seminars.
PM: Which seminars have you attended so far?
JK: I went to the 4K panel, as well as one on edge-blending.
PM: Any other input on the show?
JK: There’s a notable uptick in the number of multi-display installations (video walls), and we’re getting alot of questions about that. I’ve had two people specifically ask me questions about mounting compatibilities- basic conformity and how to find out what’s happening. I’ve pointed both of them as the best questions to ask toward mount companies. They hadn’t initially thought of asking the mount companies about that and thought they needed to ask the manufacturers, so that was sort of an interesting awakening towards that. I took that as a continuing influence of the IT departments, where they say the person whose equipment you’re buying should know about that equipment. Which is different than the AV-centric approach where it’s get what you want, and then find the pieces to put together to make the solution. So it’s just a different mentality. There’s good awareness by people here. Usually there’s a good amount of, “Well that’s not a stupid question but it could be…” and I haven’t had many of those. And Almo draws very well. Not just as a vendor but as a person who’s in this industry- Almo shows are not thought of as shows that are a waste of time.
Wrapping up the final moments in the Expo was the grand prize drawing segment, where Premier Mounts gave away TWO of our innovative CMF cable mount to lucky attendees Scott H. and Jeremy Maguire (who gave Premier a big thumbs up!)