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InfoComm 2023: Technology and inclusivity for AV

Installation looks at the new products and conference sessions lined up for this year's AV technology showcase

InfoComm has long promoted itself as much on its training seminars, workshops and focused events as on the new products on display in the exhibition halls. Now back in its stride post-pandemic, the show returns to the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida with an expanded event programme that both reflects today’s modern AV sector and the breadth of technologies available to it.

Last year, 19,681 verified attendees from more than 110 countries and all 50 US states visited InfoComm 2022. The trade show floors in the North Hall and new West Hall played host to 522 exhibitors showing innovative pro AV products and systems. 

This year, the leading manufacturers and developers will be back, with focus areas including interactivity, virtual environments, interconnectivity and interoperability and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML). Ongoing development and innovation will be highlighted in a new exhibitor pavilion – the Trailblazers Zone. Among those taking part are Artri, developer of a subscription, AR-based streamed meetings platform, which will demonstrate its Arti for Business system to enhance video calls and webinars.

Another exhibitor, DISPL, employs AI to measure shopper activity and preferences, allowing for personalised offline marketing. Over the past four years DISPL has activated more than 50,000 ‘touchpoints’ for clients including Dixons, Metro, Shell and Microsoft. A different application of AI will be shown by Insta360, which has produced the X3 action cam and mobile/desktop editing software specifically for the creation of viral content.

For some time efforts have been made to reinvent the conventional video studio. IT developer Jalinga will be in the Trailblazers Zone showing its next generation, interactive studios for online education and corporate organisations. These centre around a transparent glass ‘board’, which allows the presenter to both manipulate the presentation material and control the production without the assistance of a full technical crew.

More interactivity will be showcased by multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory in the Interactive Experience (booth 361). 

Working with LED display specialist Nanolumens, Moment Factory aims to demonstrate a variety of what it describes as “distinct visual systems” that will illustrate “the innovative opportunities available in digital signage”. A broader spotlight will be shone on what InfoComm organiser AVIXA calls “the vibrant world of digital signage” in a series of events including workshops, show floor tours, the D=SIGN conference and a social event at the Vū Orlando LED virtual production studio.

The 16:9 Digital Signage Networking Mixer, hosted by AVIXA, will take place on the evening of June 13, with the aim of bringing together, among others, integrators, designers and content creators from the display sector. 

The D=SIGN conference – produced by AVIXA in partnership with the Digital Signage Federation and sponsored by Google and Samsung – runs from June 13-15 in the Digital Signage Pavilion. Key sessions include: Is Your Legacy Digital Signage Network Ready for an Upgrade? (830am, June 13), featuring Google global partnerships representative Filipe Ho and Lance Hutchinson, vice president of Alpha Audio and Audio Inc; Touchdown! Interactive Branding Across Sports and Stadiums (11am, June 14), including contributions from Peter Beck, executive vice president of Forty Nine Degrees, Steve Bayer, special projects director at Daktronics and Ryan Lenocker, digital signage manager for the Dallas Cowboys football team; and The New Role of Digital Signage in the Hybrid Workplace (11am, June 15), with Laila Hede Jensen, group chief commercial officer of ZetaDisplay.

In addition to this, on June 14, Florian Rothberg of Invidis Consulting is to host the Market Insights Lunch: Digital Signage. During this Rothberg will present exclusive market data looking at global trends in the sector and how it affects the North American market. He will also discuss the influence of AI, sustainability, the experience economy and multi-channel retail on the design of DS systems. 

As part of the workshop programme, Alan and Jonathan Brawn of Brawn Consulting will lead two full-day sessions: Digital Signage Certified Expert (June 11), examining what is involved in planning a successful digital signage network; and Digital Content and Media Expert (June 12), looking at the need to evaluate the objectives of a project, including content production and options for outsourcing.

In the exhibition, digital signage technology will feature on the stands of, among others, AMERIA (highlighting the Airframe gesture control and touch-free interactivity system), AV Stumpfl, Barco, Christie (featuring its Widget Designer control surface), Crestron (showing the Flex range of conferencing systems plus intelligent camera technology), Draper, Mersive, ROE Visual (which will premiere new products), ScreenBeam and Z-Band Technology.

Commercial audio is, of course, a major element in AV, and many leading manufacturers in these fields will be either launching new products or showing recent releases. Biamp is to show a range of enhanced commercial horns and surface mount loudspeakers, while Bosch brand Dynacord will debut the V600:4, the first in a range of amps for small to medium sized spaces in education, hospitality, retail and houses of worship.

Meyer Sound launched its PANTHER large-scale loudspeakers in January, and will display it in Orlando. PANTHER is the company’s new flagship linear line array and features longer-excursion 12in low frequency cone drivers, 3in compression drivers and a new design for the low frequency port. Alongside this will be the 2100-LFC low frequency control system, which combines a 21in driver comprising four voice coils with a Class D amp.

Line array pioneer L-Acoustics will display the L Series, introduced officially at the Hollywood Bowl in April after first being used at the BRIT Awards in London. This features Progressive Ultra-Dense Line Source (PULS) technology and is based around two components that can function together or separately: the L2 and the L2D. 

Making its debut at the show this year is d&b audiotechnik’s HeadroomCalc technology, which is able to predict how the company’s loudspeakers will react to specific audio signals. It is part of the ArrayCalc system and is said to deliver a more precise SPL and headroom computation than other systems. The d&b demo room will enable visitors to hear the Soundscape immersive audio system.

Lawo is presenting an AV solution based on its HOME IP media infrastructure management platform. This will form the basis of a demo also involving mc²36 xp and mc²56 consoles, both powered by the A__UHD Core audio engine. Still in the IP domain but for different applications, PlexusAV is debuting the AVN4 4K60 transceiver, which is based on the proposed IPMX standard, while KVM specialist G&D will launch the VisionXS extender line for connections using either KVM-over-IP or more traditional technologies, plus the PersonalWorkplace-Controller.

The discussions and technology – software and hardware – are naturally a key element of InfoComm, but so too is the overall atmosphere and ethos. This year’s show will build further on AVIXA’s embracing of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), seeing more involvement of diverse voices in the show and conferences. To this end, sessions include Diversity and Equity in the Modern Workplace: Intentional Leadership and An Ethical Revolution in Tech: Creating DEI Accountability and Psychologically Safe Workplaces. This year’s AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast will have a keynote speech from Dr Tarika Barrett, chief executive of Girls Who Code, who is committed to closing the gender gap in technology and the perception of what a computer programmer looks like. 

The DEI message was emphasised by AVIXA chief executive David Labuskes, who commented: “We want everyone to feel welcome to this exciting industry, because everyone deserves to belong and for their story to be heard.”

InfoComm 2023: June 10-16 (education sessions), June 14-16 (exhibition).