A Behind-the-Scenes Interview with Gary Bailer, Director of Product Management, Sharp Ahh, spring is definitely in the air! The snow is melting, the birds are singing, we’ve changed the clocks and have more afternoon daylight…oh, and the Almo E4 AV Tour is on the road! read more
Almo Hospitality will unveil the latest technology trends and teach valuable skills to help resellers grow their business in 2017. Hospitality Conference at E4 (March 21st) includes a full-day of hospitality-dedicated agenda with opening presentation by Samsung’s read more
Each Spring and Fall Almo’s E4 Tour swings through two major cities and brings along with it an entire day’s worth of CTS accredited educational courses and gets roughly 40 of the top manufacturers in the professional audio video industry all in one room showcasing their newest product offerings.
As a technology professional and a self-proclaimed “AV Geek” these events are always exciting to me as I am often one of the first people to see new and emerging technology. Sometimes it’s electronics, or perhaps software, or even bent metal making the installation of said technology easier and more efficient. There were a handful of stand-out products that were featured at our Fall shows this year that are worth checking out.
1.) ATEN VM3909H – 9×9 HDMI HDBaseT-Lite Matrix Switch: Remember way back when where the number of hot dogs in a package did not always match the number of buns in a package? I realize it is a silly reference, but try doing a 3×3 video wall with an 8×8 matrix switch. The folks at ATEN were mindful of this when they introduced this 9×9 HDMI matrix switch earlier this year. An addition to the 9 HDMI outputs it has 9 HDBaseT Lite outputs allowing the switch to be located up to 70m away from the video wall using the appropriate HDBaseT receivers. A simple front panel control and GUI interface to create simple video wall layouts round out the feature set of this Red Dot Award winning product.
2.) Chief SYS Projector Mount System Series: The engineers at Chief really did their homework on this one keeping the installer in mind with features not found in other mounting systems. This system not only saves time on the install but is aesthetically pleasing. Installers will love the fact that the mount and column come pre-assembled and even the box is designed so that the parts needed first are packaged on top. Micro adjustments for perfect alignment can be made without any tools and the 0”-12” adjustable column has separate cable management channels for both high and low voltage cabling.
3.) tvONE ONErack – Universal Rack Mounting System for Small Devices: While small devices such as HDBaseT transmitters, format converters, small audio products and more are convenient because of their size they can quickly make a mess of your equipment rack since in many cases they are not specifically designed to be mounted or secured into a traditional 19” rack space. Not only that, but they also generally have large wall-wart type power supplies which can clutter power distribution units within the rack. Available in 4RU, 5RU, and 6RU chassis models, this system converts randomly sized small AV devices into slide-in modules while consolidating power for all devices within the system. An optional active cooling system is available for situations where you are populating a large number of devices.
4.) Atlona AT-UHD-HDVS-300-KIT – Soft Codec Conferencing System: As more and more companies adopt PC-based conferencing codecs like Skype, WebEx, & GoToMeeting in place of traditional hardware based codecs for smaller conference rooms and huddle spaces the need for external USB microphones and cameras has increased with the desire for quality meetings. In order to accomplish this typical systems require AV extenders, USB extenders, USB hubs, multiple remotes, plus all of the required cables. Atlona’s system accomplishes this with just two devices and a single category cable. This unit also is a 4 input auto sensing AV switcher and provides automatic display control via CEC, IP, and RS-232 allowing users to start meetings quickly and easily.
5.) Almo CONTROL – Control System & DSP Programming Services: Almo got into offering services two years ago with the introduction of digital signage content creation and since then have added services for installation as well as telecom services. Almo CONTROL is the most recent introduction and was launched at the E4 Fall tour this year. With Almo CONTROL integrators can potentially take on more projects with access to additional programming resources, or where they have expertise in one system but need resources for another. Our programmers have been providing outstanding control system programming and system commissioning support services since the year 2000.
With all of the changes in our industry and constantly evolving technology I look forward to see what lies ahead in 2017.
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you and say I’m a little glad the E4 events have wrapped up. It has been a busy year for the Almo team and we are all ready for a breather. Not so fast – Chicago is March 22nd and San Jose is April 19th (deep cleansing breathe). It’s time to reflect on the top 5 moments of the E4 2016 tour:
Top Moments of 2016 E4 AV Tour
We wrapped up 2016 with a bang by becoming the first AV distributor to live stream a CTS RU certified course on Facebook. With over 100 online attendees, we were excited to extend the education of the E4 beyond the Dallas, TX area to the whole world.
2. Almo Services Offering Launches
Although we introduced Almo Connect in late 2015, the first time Almo customers got to really learn about it was at the E4 in Atlanta. In talking about the bandwidth needs in the 4K keynote, it was a perfect foray into conversations about reselling Almo Connect services. Next we launched Almo Control at the Boston event, our new control systems programming.
3. E4 Experience Launches
We take feedback from the tour very seriously. One aspect that was missing from E4 was a more hands-on approach to product learning. So we launched the E4 Experience with two “experience rooms” – Design a Huddle Space and Create & Publish Digital Signage Content. Each experience was sold out for every event.
4. World’s First Keynote in True 4K
Last year Gary Kayye came to me and said he had a “killer” keynote idea. To present the keynote about 4K IN 4K! We did it with some magic from Barco in Atlanta and rocked the house. I’ve never had so many comments about an E4 keynote about how much they learned about 4K and all the myths dispelled.
While in the middle of planning two E4 events, we were also gearing up for the acquisition of IAVI in April and announced the news to our vendors at what they thought was an appreciation event but ended up being more of a press conference. Surprise – we just doubled in size! Very exciting times!
Just because the tour is over doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! Check out our recorded classes, including Gary’s Keynote where you can STILL earn CTS RU’s, our videos, blogs and photos.
As a product manager in Pro AV Sales, or any type of sales, really, it’s critical to be able to connect with your customers. While establishing a relationship using only the telephone is not impossible, I’ve discovered that connections and rapport can be made more quickly and become much stronger in-person. A great way to personally connect with partners and resellers in the Pro AV world is through technology training and product roadshows. It’s a great way to say, “check this new gadget out” and “thank you for your business!”
At Almo PRO AV we bring the future of AV to you via our E4 AV Tour. These one-day events, held in different cities across the country offer product exhibit halls, educational classes for CTS renewal units, demonstrations, and one-on-one engagement with our Almo Pro AV Business Development Managers and their respective manufacturers.
For me… it’s all about LG!
At our most recent E4 AV Tour stop in Boson, Commercial Integrator Magazine named LG a leading manufacturer with “Standout Products” for its OLED technology, suggested to be “one of the most eye-catching displays on the exhibit floor.”
LG’s 4K dual-sided OLED straight displays are available now. The curved models are coming late this month.
At the end of September, Almo sponsored an invitation-only reseller event at the LG Business Innovation Center in Lincolnshire, IL. Approximately 25 resellers attended this event and enjoyed in-person training on LG’s exclusive OLED, IPS technology and a private tour of the facility. Product demonstrations showcased a full assortment of LG products, including LG Stretch, 4k, OLED dual side and curved models, video walls and the soon to be released 98” display. Steve Stacy, Almo’s VP of Sales for the Midwest and Northwest Regions delivered a summary presentation on Almo’s Value Add services such as Content Management, Installation and Connectivity.
Our events provide hand-on technical training as a component of social learning and partner collaboration. I look forward to building new partnerships and strengthening the existing ones in a comfortable, friendly setting that opens lines of communication.
Looking ahead, the Almo E4 AV Tour makes its final stop in 2016 on Tuesday Dallas in the Lone Star State. As we wind down the year we’re continuing to plan new and exciting ways to bring our partners and resellers emerging technologies.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit the LG Business Innovation Center (BIC) outside of Chicago at LG’s corporate headquarters. It was quite an experience where all of LG’s newest innovations and product verticals are on display to see and feel. You really get a chance to experience everything that LG has on their commercial display product roadmap, and it’s there specifically for customers and end users to absorb and engage in the future of their technologies.
For every vertical market there was an LG display suited perfectly for it. Whatever the application, the LG BIC has the full array of products for Hospitality, Healthcare, QSR (Quick Serve Restaurants), Transportation scheduling, Museums/Art Galleries, Indoor/Outdoor Digital Signage, Video Walls, Open-frame OLED technology, LED lighting…it’s all here for the taking. They’ve even created a new market for “digital décor” which stems from their uniquely designed 86-inch Ultra-Stretch 4K model that is ideal for art galleries, museums and the high-end digital signage projects.
Most notable was the new OLED display technology that LG recently unveiled. They showcase a cutting-edge 55-inch OLED 4K UHD Wallpaper display that is absolutely unreal! (see Front View) Everyone at the meeting was completely blown away. No one could believe their eyes when they saw how thin this unit actually is. This amazing display is literally thinner than a credit card (see side view). And, not only was it a gorgeous image, but at less than 4 pounds, this stunning display was installed using Velcro (you can also use magnets)!
LG’s 55-inch OLED 4K UHD Wallpaper Display (Front View):
Yes, I said Velcro! That was not a typo.
You also may notice a black plastic frame behind the actual display (see side view image), but this is not part of the actual OLED display portion and is required for structural stability due to the extremely thin, flexible OLED layer in front of it. This model is truly going to be a game-changer for the industry. Get ready for a groundbreaking 2016 with LG’s sights set on the future of OLED technology, and the technical developments and advancements that result from those efforts.
LG’s 55-inch OLED 4K UHD Display (side view):
So next time you are in the Chicago (or Atlanta) area and looking to see the latest and greatest that LG Electronics offers, make the trip to their Business Innovation Center. It will be well worth it, I promise!
For more information on LG’s latest products, please do not hesitate to contact me, Eric Olson, via phone at (888) 420-2566 ext. 4082 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since moving to Pensacola in 2014 after living in major markets like New York and Atlanta for so many years, flying out of a smaller airport isn’t so bad—with no security lines I can breeze into the airport, grab my regular parking spot right near the elevator in the garage right across from the terminal… and “Who’s bedda than me?” as they say in New York.
Visiting Vegas this time for the NAB Show, (National Association of Broadcasters), it’s the perfect event to showcase Samsung’s new broadcast video wall display solution, the UD55E-S. Looking forward to hearing feedback from dozens of major TV networks and their engineering teams over the next two days, as I deplane I’m immediately greeted by a number of Samsung displays before we even leave the gate area and I’m vividly reminded how rich this destination is for digital signage as it pounces on visitors at every turn. Countless displays clamor for your attention- larger than life images and dazzling graphics promoting the latest acts and long-standing shows on the strip not to mention tantalizing jackpot tickers and even slot machines right in the terminal. Checking into my hotel, Samsung video wall displays (UD Series) serve as a sleek, gorgeous digital canvas behind the minimalist and modern check-in desk to create the chic, hipster experience at SLS Las Vegas. Samsung displays, tablets and other technology are hard at work supporting the property’s mission for world class hospitality. From the lobby and restaurants, concierge lounge right down to Smart TVs in every guest room, (we’ll save that for another blog).
Samsung’s UD55E-S displays are calibrated specifically for use by broadcast studios. Factory-calibrated to a low 2,800˚-6,500˚ K color temperature, UD55E-S monitors are in sync with nearly all broadcast cameras and lighting, giving you the confidence of knowing the image on your studio’s videowall is precisely what your audience at home will see. UD55E-S displays also maintain a sharp image and accurate color when viewed off-axis, and the ultra-narrow bezel-to-bezel width of just 3.5mm (about 1/8″) delivers a near-seamless videowall, with maximum impact, clarity and accuracy. In the below images taken at ISE by our VP Marketing, Melody Craigmyle in March, you can see the difference in the images through the eyes of a viewer at home watching a broadcast with a traditional video wall display (right) and UD55E-S broadcast video wall display (left). Notice how crisp and vivid the content appears on the broadcast videowall unit compared to what the majority of studios are using today.
For a limited time, we are offering special pricing on IN-STOCK UD55E-S broadcast videowall units, while supplies last. We can help you save money on the product AND reduce installation labor by more than half of typical requirements for traditional videowall panels with Samsung’s extensive factory color calibration and advanced color expert software (included free) and with every UD55E-S. Give me a call or email me today with details about your ON-CAMERA videowall application or studio set client who is ready for an upgrade and I’ll help you confirm if this solution is right for your specific project.
So whether you call it “Sin City” or “The Entertainment Capital of the World,” Vegas is totally a Samsung town!
Here’s a picture of Almo’s Business Development Manager, Apryl Lamberti and Nancy Onffroy, Samsung’s Channel Manager at NAB on the show floor.
Recently, we asked AV respondents about their social media usage. As we suspected, a clear majority of Atlanta E4 AV Tour attendees say they use LinkedIn the most for business. They were evenly split between Facebook and Twitter as second most used social network.
When AV Respondents Check Social Media
When do you check?
6pm or later 70%
9am to 12pm 65%
12pm to 3 pm 54%
3pm to 6pm 52%
How Many Times a Day Do You Check Social Media?
Five or more 43%
One to three 39%
Three to five 19%
See the full infographic here.
How do these results match up with your own preferences? Special thanks for all those who took the time to respond to our survey! We can’t wait to see what our Boston and Dallas E4 AV Tour attendees will have to say about their social media habits. Don’t forget to join us at our upcoming E4 AV Tour!
Wow; another E4 season is underway. There are so many things I enjoy about working the E4, from meeting great people, to sharpening technical skills in CTS RU certifies classes, to seeing new products up close with factory experts on hand to dig into the details. I look forward to E4’s every off-season and just wish they were longer when they do roll around. The kickoff in DC certainly did not disappoint. From a product perspective alone we saw a number of cool new items that are starting to make noise; some quite literally.
It’s not often a product creates a new market. This is exactly what Panasonic has done with their innovative Space Player. This was a huge draw at ISE in Amsterdam and the Almo E4 may have been the first time it appeared in public in the US. This highly anticipated little projector mounts to a standard lighting track and has built in SD Card slot and Wi-Fi for media playback. Being that it is about the size of a track lighting fixture, it is ideal of retail signage applications and flexible ambient techorating. Panasonic showed the unit mapped onto stationary products with active content highlighting the subjects. If you have customers looking for you to bring creative solutions, check out the video for further applications to get your imagination going. (Make sure to look for the butterflies in the restaurant.)
Another first for Almo were the ongoing live demos of the Bose F1 Flexible Line Array system. (My apologies to the 11AM Interactive E4 Experience…. perhaps we got a wee bit too loud with the EDM.) The venue’s octagonal room and dome ceiling certainly would have presented significant challenges for lesser systems. This self powered unit brings the advantages of line arrays to the portable market. Proving very popular in HOW, education, and performance spaces, the flexible vertical control makes it a great option in diverse setups and integrated systems, too.
QSC showed their super efficient Energy Star qualified SPA series of multi channel power amplifiers that provide up to 200 watts into low-z applications and 250W into 70V – and they fit in half a rack space. We’ll be hearing more about these amps as the word continues to spread.
Harman Professional brought their new interactive “virtual rack” to sit alongside their stacks of gear. This touch screen-driven self-guided demonstration allows attendees to dig deeper into many items from the extensive product families of JBL, Crown, dbx, and others. With product experts at their side, the virtual rack allowed attendees to experience a broader range of solutions than typically available on a show floor.
From the “you can teach an old dog new tricks” department, Chief brought along the new SYSAU Suspended Ceiling Projector System. “It’s just another mount” you say? Wrong! How about a system that includes everything you need for 90% of all projector installs – all in a single box. No more finding the right ceiling plate, length of extension column, trim ring, etc, etc. This makes spec’ing, quoting, and installing projectors faster – period. Plus, if you inventory mounting components, this will make life much easier. (Yes – another video.)
With so much to see and do, I’m sure I missed some of the highlights. Please share yours and I look forward to seeing on the next stop of the E4 AV Tour!
I am a proud alumnus of the University of Kentucky and as such, a huge college basketball fan. I followed in the footsteps of the uber fan, Ashley Judd and started as a French major. I quickly decided to double major in marketing because the prospects of finding a job with just a French degree didn’t seem to grow on trees. I certainly wasn’t following Ashley any further than the UK Campus and into Hollywood.
As proof of my loyalty, here I am last year at the National Championship in Indianapolis. For those of you who don’t follow or just don’t remember, Kentucky was undefeated going into the finals and on the threshold of history. Alas, they lost in the first round and now on to a new year of basketball.
Fast forward to February 2016 and I’m in Amsterdam at the ISE show, the largest Audio Visual show in the world. After taking in the show, my colleague and I decided to sample of the local fare. I asked my friend Sara Abrons from rAVe publications and she commenced with a small history lesson to explain her recommendation.
Indonesia was a Dutch colony back in the day and to brag about their conquest, they wanted to showcase the breadth of spices imported from the colony. This came in the form of an Indonesia “tasting table” which is not Indonesian at all but the result of the peacock feathered bragging meal made palatable for the Dutch and now I’m sure for the tourists like myself.
Presented with about 20 plates and a warming tray, we dove in to a wonderful display. It was a small place with a varied décor – suffice it to say kind of like an Indonesian/Dutch TGI Friday’s with all sorts of pictures, signs and license plates on the walls. I’m looking at these licensed plates and notice some of them are from America when suddenly, I see a familiar face next to the Oliver North for President:
I say to my colleagues, “That’s a UK license plate!” He contends it has to be from the United Kingdom. I remind him that all four years at UK, I worked as a cashier at Kennedy Book Store and rang up THOUSANDS of those plates! Upon further examination, it was confirmed.
Walking back to the hotel (or should I say rolling after 20 courses of Indonesian tasting plate), we are rounding the corner which is adjacent to the MOMO restaurant. By day it’s a sun drenched breakfast nook. By night, it becomes a swanky restaurant/club. Curious, I look through the window at the D.J. Low and behold:
The guy is wearing a Kentucky Wildcats shirt! I tell my colleague that we have to go in and get photographic evidence because no one would believe me. I walk in and the hostess asked me if I had a reservation and I told her, “I’m with the D.J”
They guy was surprised when I ran up to him, complimenting his shirt. He said he got it at a second hand clothing shop in Amsterdam and didn’t even know what it was. He liked the color. I tried to explain it was the greatest college basketball team in the U.S. but I could tell it was no use. It was, in fact, a good color on him. Go Wildcats!