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On the Circuit

Dec 18, 2013 11:30 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart

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The most recent AVAD Vendopalooza event took place on a brilliant and frosty (for Los Angeles) day, punctuated with the odd gale force wind. It was very busy. The enormous parking lot at AVAD’s San Fernando Valley office was packed with cars, and I had to wait at many of the booths for the chance to talk to vendors. Some 50 of AVAD’s vendors participated in the demo tent. Nest brought its big powder blue fire truck to help promote a new smart fire/carbon monoxide detector, and the taco wagons helped take the chill off. Key Digital President Mike Tsinberg gave a keynote training session on adopting HDMI, HDBaseT, and iOS for custom AV installations.

One thing that caught my eye was a demo of the Mondopad from InFocus. It’s a big multi-touch tablet collaboration/videoconferencing product (screens are 55in. and 70in.). Entry level at $7,550 MSRP, it communicates with all major videoconferencing platforms, such as Polycom, LifeSize, Cisco, and Tandberg. As a Windows PC, I was told it also communicates with Skype. It comes with a full copy of Microsoft Office and a selection of whiteboard and annotation apps as well as an easy interface for sharing and sending content wirelessly. It seemed like a good starting point for conferencing and collaboration in smaller, cost-conscious applications.

I’ll also point out that several of our Most Innovative Product award winners were at Vendopalooza including Chief, JBL, JVC, and Panamax. Read more on the annual Most Innovative Products and to see what readers voted for in a very strong turnout.

Earlier in the week, I also braved the bitter (for Los Angeles) cold to ride the Universal Studios tram ride as part of my colleague David Keene’s Rental and Staging Roadshow. The daylong event at Universal’s Globe Theatre featured exhibitors and presentations, including an SVC panel on the technology behind the King Kong and Transformers 3 rides, and a guided viewing of the rides themselves.

In both cases, I was reminded that difficult as it often is to get to a physical event, it’s always so valuable to see installations and technology firsthand and to have the opportunity to talk with integrators and engineers in person. You can’t get that on the phone or on the Internet. A lot of us traveled strange and creative paths into this industry, and I’m always impressed with the commitment and self-reliance of the tribe—whether we’re complaining, celebrating, or something in between.

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