The 2014 InfoComm show is billed as the largest pro-AV show in North America and features the latest and greatest in audiovisual and information technology systems; this year’s Las Vegas show did not disappoint the Vantage team members in attendance. The Vantage team monitors industry trends, looks for disruptive technologies and challenges manufacturers and vendors to address our clients’ requirements. This year, our team noted the following interesting developments that we expect to be able to deploy in our projects moving forward.
Warping and blending imaging technology allows us to digitize an image and re-project it onto a non-linear surface. At the show the most stunning example of this technology was a white sports car that was re-mapped with a variety of colors, textures and styles to suite a buyer’s particular tastes. We expect to deploy these technologies in aesthetic applications to create an interactive feature wall or art space.
We enjoyed the laser projector “bake off” against the equivalent LCD projectors and felt that laser projector color quality is improving (especially when compared to early laser projectors). Laser projectors don’t require lamps and hence don’t suffer from the need to replace the lamp after about 20,000 hours or so. We think we will see laser projectors being used in difficult to access locations; there is also potential for operational savings when compared to LCD projectors.
LED pitch distance continues to reduce, with pixel sizes coming down from 4mm to 1.9 / 1.2 mm and 0.9 anticipated soon. This reduction in size will allow us to use LEDs to design a bright video wall that allows viewers to get relatively close (six to eight feet.) We also saw semitransparent LED strips that can be applied to windows, curtain LEDs and other LED configurations that offer some fascinating options for architectural use.
Common sightings at the show included cloud-based collaborative systems that integrate multiple platforms and facilitate collaboration as a service. The use of software codecs for collaboration allows us to install the software on a mini PC or other low-cost platform and create an economical collaboration space. This may be the end of the road for big video-switching PBXes and in-room hardware codecs as the software-based equivalents continue to offer significant cost savings.
Finally, 4k definition displays have definitely arrived, but at the time of writing limited content is available due to high price tag. Conversely, the demand for 3D displays seems to have subsided – the consumer market is still offering 3D-capable displays but people watch television differently nowadays and it seems like a niche market. It will be interesting to see where the 4k marketplace is at next year’s show in Anaheim, CA.
(Please note that this Blog post represents the opinions and thoughts of our team and does not represent the official policy of InfoComm or any of the manufacturers and vendors who exhibited at the show.)