More than 32,000 people attended what was reportedly the second-largest commercial AV show ever held, writes David Davies. Taking place in Las Vegas from 9-11 June, InfoComm 2010 attracted a grand total of 32,002 AV professionals drawn from more than 90 countries. A showfloor featuring 925 exhibitors (vs 832 in 2009) was complemented by a busy training programme, with registrations for InfoComm Academy courses totalling 6,587.
IE has covered numerous show-related announcements in recent weeks (read previous coverage on SpinetiX, Barix, AMX and Midas, but the exhibition also brought many other significant product announcements - not least those from Control4, LG Electronics, Advanced Media Design/MediaPOINTE, Panasonic and Sharp.
Control4 announced the introduction of Control4 Commercial Systems, marking the company's formal entrance into the pro-AV market. Founded on a standards-based open platform, the new range - encompassing controllers, touchscreens, lighting, software, mobile applications and energy-management solutions - will provide automation and control for commercial environments including boardrooms, restaurants, hotels and green buildings.
"Bringing Control4 solutions to the pro-AV market is a natural move for us," said Jim Gist, vice president of Control4 Commercial Systems. "Our dealers have successfully implemented existing Control4 solutions into commercial projects, and we have a thriving business in the hospitality market. With Control4 Commercial Systems, we are bringing a dedicated team and product line to support commercially focused projects."
In addition to releasing details of a website redesign, LG Electronics announced a turnkey digital signage solution entitled SignNET. Incorporating hardware, software and starter templates, SignNET enables the quick and easy creation of digital signage content.
"Making digital signage simple but exceedingly effective is what SignNET is all about," said Jeff Dowell, vice president, digital signage, LG Electronics USA Business Solutions. "Our relationship with CNN extends the capabilities of SignNET to provide even more engaging content with customisable digital signage options."
Advanced Media Design, meanwhile, announced a new digital network streamer from its MediaPOINTE brand. The new VIDi10 device completes MediaPOINTE's HD live streaming product portfolio and can be used to stream video in applications ranging from worship services to hotels to classrooms.
"By providing an HD solution in our blade/chassis line, we give our customers the greatest flexibility for their IPTV and VOD streaming solutions," said Gareth Wade, vice president sales and marketing, MediaPOINTE. "Users can continue to utilise existing standard-definition devices as well as newer HD devices without a huge investment and without replacing their existing streamers. Our VIDi 10 enhances and complements MediaPOINTE's unrivalled modular 'end-to-end solution' for capture, archiving and streaming and publishing rich media content."
InfoComm 2010 was also notable for Panasonic, which introduced an extensive selection of its latest pro-AV technology. New projectors on display included the PT-DZ8700 Series 3-chip DLP devices for large-venue applications, while display units included the LF20 Series LCD models and TH Series Full HD 3D plasmas. The manufacturers also released details of a notebook PC for professional systems contractors, the Toughbook F9, and highlighted a series of recently announced video acquisition and production solutions.
"From professional projectors and displays to notebook PCs and a full suite of HD video acquisition and production solutions, Panasonic Solutions Company is a trusted source for professional AV technology," said Rance M Poehler, president, Panasonic Solutions Company. "As the multiple ground-breaking products we launched at InfoComm 2010 attest, we are committed to ongoing innovation in these markets and to delivering the industry's most reliable platforms for the creation and distribution of content."
Sharp launched its first pro LCD monitor with LED backlighting, designed specifically for videowall applications. The new 60in class PN-V601 is said to offer the world's slimmest bezel available in a professional LCD display, and can be used in a variety of signage and commercial display applications, in both landscape and portrait mode.
"As digital signage and display applications continue to evolve, customers are looking for more energy-efficient products and thinner bezel designs that enable nearly seamless images to be displayed in large videowall configurations," said Ed McLaughlin, president, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America. "The introduction of this ultra-slim bezel, LED-backlit LCD monitor rounds out our comprehensive line of professional displays and offers superior image quality and improved compatibility to serve the needs of the commercial market. The large 60in class monitor allows larger size videowalls to be created utilising fewer LCD panels, resulting in increased energy efficiency and lower operating costs."
Scala and Samsung were among the other manufacturers introducing new products during a show that reflected the ongoing emergence of easy-use, cost-effective digital signage and HD visual solutions.
Away from the tradeshow floor, popular sessions on this year's training programme included 'Technology Trends', 'Fibre Optics for AV' and 'Elements of AV Design', while a total of 116 AV professionals participated in the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) exam at a local testing centre.
"InfoComm continues to be the one tradeshow where most professional AV service providers make their important buying decisions for the year," commented Randal A Lemke, executive director & CEO, InfoComm International. "The AV marketplace has enthusiastically embraced InfoComm as the place to make their purchasing choices, network with product and service providers, and enhance skills through our robust educational programme."
InfoComm will venture to Orlando for its next edition, to be held on 11-17 June 2011.