In an earlier blog this year, I reviewed NEC’s recent announcement to incorporate the popular Raspberry Pi (RPi) computer with selected new V-Series and P-Series panels by mid-2017. The addition of RPi continues NEC’s open platform philosophy utilizing OPS slots that pr read more
Whether you are the owner of a small AV integration firm or a manager at a large national integrator chances are you are faced with the same struggle of finding the time to attend training for yourself or send your employees for training. Often this can be costly and 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
READY TO GROW YOUR DIGITAL SIGNAGE BUSINESS IN 2017? HERE’S HOW! Life wouldn’t be fun without change. And 2016 was certainly full of exciting changes and new developments in the Pro AV Industry. Technology has “Moved Beyond Limits” with exciting products like Dual vie 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 an aspiring techie. As a marketing manager in the Pro AV channel I marvel daily at what you guys and gals (girl power!) can do. While I’m at home battling my wireless printer you’re out there day after day beaming Cecil the Lion onto the Empire State Building in New York City. Well, maybe you don’t do that every day, but what you do on a daily basis is still quite impressive.
I was a high school student in the 90’s. (You Gotta Fight! For Your Right! To Partyyyy!) We had the old school projectors that shined the lesson written on multiple sheets of clear plastic onto a pull down screen, or even a cement wall in some classrooms. Teachers would walk away with colorful smudges on their hands from the ink they were using to illustrate their points. Imagine how Mr. Flammond would teach me the DNA sequence of an amphibian these days!
But, I digress. I haven’t walked the halls of BHS since back when we were sporting Members Only Jackets and fluffy Love Eric socks, but I see now what you the installers and integrators are putting inside those classrooms. And I’m downright jealous. I want to go back and learn the way children of today are learning!
And education isn’t the only way you are changing lives. Making meetings more productive with amazing technology like Sharp AQUOS BOARDS and the InFocus Mondopads and Barco Clickshare in boardrooms and conference rooms is changing the way companies think and do business. Even Almo Pro AV!
Don’t even get me started on retail right now. I just can’t. Because if I start talking about that LG Dual-Sided Curved OLED display and how many pair of shoes that thing could sell me I may have to run to the Galleria Mall immediately.
The point is… the dealers and resellers and installers and integrators that trust Almo Pro AV with their technology needs are pretty impressive folks. And I’m going to be lucky enough to meet some of them in person this coming Tuesday in Dallas, Texas, where our E4 AV Tour makes its last stop in 2016. If you’re close-by, come check it out. You can register here. There are classes and other educational opportunities for CTS Renewal Credits and a super-cool experience by Samsung of their outdoor displays that Paris Hilton would actually describe as “that’s Hot”.
Yes, I’m going because it’s my job. But don’t think I won’t be walking away all geeked out and excited over the technology we’re showcasing. And when I come home I’m going to beat that pesky wireless printer!
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.
Samsung Makes a Splash with New Small-Signage Products at Chicago E4!
Last week’s Chicago Almo E4 AV Tour was fab-u-lous! Some of our top vendor partners said it was THE BEST reseller event they had ever exhibited at. By the time I glanced at the time, it was already one o-clock! Where does the time go? With nearly 20 CTS certified training sessions, a product Expo that introduced some of the latest technology in our industry and the support of our vendors, what a great resource for dealers to see so much all in one place!
I spent the majority of time at the Samsung pro booth where a number of new series were vividly on display:
Love these professional grade displays for simple digital signage but what about for posting outside a meeting room or throughout a conference center for welcome messages, meeting room bookings, or even at the front desk for guest check-in for hospitality applications?
So while bigger may be better most of the time, you’re no longer limited to just 32” and up. Think of Samsung as the leading brand of professional digital signage solutions with the most extensive product lineup in the industry, from 10” and soon, all the way up to 110”. Samsung’s solutions carry a full 3-Year, On-Site Warranty and your Almo rep can even help you with extended warranties.
Don’t miss the next stop on the spring E4 AV Tour coming up in Los Angeles, CA at the Sheraton LAX Gateway Hotel, April 21st! And let us know how we can help you today!
I was recently asked to transfer a colleagues open reel tape to CD. This was a recording that had been in their family for an unknown period of time – but certainly more than 50 years. This was nothing new for me as I’ve spent years working with analog tape in recording studios, owned a business converting legacy formats to more modern media, and had the privilege of restoring and transferring original multitrack master recordings, such as Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”. Yet, it’s been a while since I’ve needed one of my analog machines.
The process of aligning the machine and prepping the tape led me to think about how much has changed over the years. As my mind wandered while the tape was winding on the machine, I was taken back to several hours earlier in the same day when I was asked to put together a class for Almo’s E4 on Dante, AVB, Cobranet, and other network-based signal distribution methods. Relatively speaking, this is a newer subject for me, but something I look forward to teaching. The request was an outgrowth of my suggesting classes on digital transport protocols – which I know extremely well, have taught many times over the years…. but as time marches on, so does relevance. Technology that once mattered is dated. What is pertinent, changes. What took a decent computer and paid good money 7 years ago, my fifth graders do on their iPad.
While I truly love giving presentations, I waffled on if I should teach the class. In comparing my relatively new knowledge on network signal distribution methods, with subjects I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing for a quarter century, this seemed moderately daunting. Yet, I do know it well enough to help others get their start. I just need to set expectations accordingly and dive in. There may be attendees with more experience on the subject who will ask questions that I can’t answer – at least not when they are first asked. But it will give me and everyone one in attendance a better idea of what we should be asking, along with the opportunity to find the answers and share them with the group later.
Transferring this old analog tape took me back in time and across the years. Showing clearly in retrospect, something we all know: the only constant is change, and the rate is an exponential progression.
So where does all this bring us? Dante and the collision of AV and IT may be intimidating. But this is just part of the ride. You can hang on and hope for the best or try to stay ahead of it. Either way, the past is gone – just like many people on the 50-year-old tape. Enjoy every memory. Embrace change. Keep relevant and try to look forward to the next step. Some may trip. Some will prevail. But those that don’t try will get trampled by those that do.
I look forward to seeing you at our E4’s.
Working here at Almo we are exposed to hundreds of different products and interact on a very personal level with many of our top manufacturers. We quite possibly have more manufacturer trainings than any other company in our industry, however it is not every day that we actually get to handle and use the products that we sell. Spec sheets can offer a lot but they don’t always convey the true performance of a particular product.
Although it is our customers that are out in the field installing these products, I do on many occasions throughout the year get to have hands-on experience with a lot of gear whether it is at one of the Almo E4 AV Tour events, InfoComm, or the International Signage Expo. At our E4 events we set up all of the training rooms and have had the chance over the last five years to use several different projectors, in both the short-throw and installation categories.
For our 2014 E4 tours Epson provided the projector hardware so over the course of the year I got familiar with their units. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the higher end features found on the less expensive short throw models that I haven’t seen from other vendors like image shift and corner correction making it a breeze to perfectly match the image to the screen which can be particularly challenging in ultra-short-throw applications. For our larger rooms we used their high end Pro G series projectors with an optional short throw zoom lens in a rear projection setting. With a very generous lens shift and features like digital corner correction and image shift it only took a few minutes to get everything perfectly aligned.
The real highlight though was once we had content being shown on the projectors. The images popped and were bright with accurate colors. Surprisingly, these images were brighter than I had seen from other projectors we used in the past that actually boasted a higher brightness rating on their spec sheet than the Epson. I am now a believer in the importance of Color Light Output or Color Brightness. For more detailed information please visit: www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Landing/bright-projector-colors.do.