InfoComm Best of Show Awards 2014
Aug 20, 2014 9:38 PM
These awards recognize outstanding products exhibited at the 2014 InfoComm Show. Winners were selected from nearly 200 submitted entries by a panel of professional integrators and consultants, who demoed and/or viewed the entries on the show floor. Judges evaluated the products against a set of criteria including ease of use; ease of installation; quality against category standard; richness and relevance of feature set; network friendliness; versatility; value/ROI; and anticipated reliability. Congratulations to all the designers, engineers, and decision-makers involved with these products.
Audio-Technica // ATND971 Network Microphone with Direct Dante™ Protocol
This cardioid condenser boundary microphone is the first wired mic to transmit audio and control data together over Dante protocol. Designed to bridge the audio/IT gap, it is easy to add to existing systems for boardrooms and meeting spaces. In addition to providing Audio-Technica-style intelligibility, sound quality, and design, it’s integrated, programmable switch gives users a unique way to mute audio or trigger Dante-enabled devices on the network, such as camera and lights. Judges found it “a great way to transmit audio and control using inexpensive Ethernet connectivity, allowing users to control room devices as well.”
Aurora Multimedia // QXT-700
“This touchpanel represents a smart, platform-agnostic control system that is cost-effective for AV control applications,” according to one judge. Judges liked the looks, resolution (1280x800 HD), graphics, and its made-in-the-USA price of $1,799 MS RP. To accommodate personal smartphones and tablets, a built-in web server integrates iPad/Android/MS tablet use with no apps required. It also comes with stereo speakers, stereo digital microphones, light sensor, proximity sensor, and IR Learner. Backed with a PoE-enabled 1Gbps LAN port, multiple onboard RS-232/IR/relays and DIO, it mounts with a standard two-gang low-voltage box.
Black Box // MediaCento IPX Controller
This network appliance enables IP-based video matrix switching and videowall control for HDMI -over-IP solutions, with easy-to-configure browser-based GUI . It allows users to extend HDMI video and US B over an IP network to a virtually unlimited number of screens and videowalls. Users can switch from any source to any display or zone, create presets, and combine multiple receivers into a videowall (up to 8x8), over a corporate LAN or the Internet, via computer, phone, or tablet. “Fantastic videowall or video distribution system at an affordable price,” said one judge.
Clear-Com // HeliNet HKB-2X Speaker Station with S-Mount
This newest addition to the HelixNet Partyline family allows users to extend their intercom access to cover more ground and accommodate situations where space is limited. Judges liked the elegant, ingenious wall- and/or desk-mount design and the positionable OLE D display. The 4-channel device can monitor all four channels and communicate on any two with the sound quality that has earned Clear-Com its reputation. The device is feature-rich, electronically and mechanically, with consideration for user comfort, durability, and installation logistics. Multiple power options and the built-in IT compatibility of the HelixNet Partyline platform makes it cost-effective and easy to deploy.
Core Brands // BlueBOLT BB-RS232
This adapter brings BlueBOLT cloud-based power and energy management to the Furman Contractor series of power sequencers, beginning with the Furman CN-1800S and CN-2400S for US A, and the CN-3600S E for EMEA. BlueBOLT provides easy-to-use hosted-remote access from any web-enabled device; this lets users instantly reboot problem components, monitor power consumption, sequence multi-zone systems on or off, generate email alerts for power anomalies, and more from anywhere in the world. Judges liked the additional infrastructure reliability that BlueBOLT capabilities add to a commercial power sequencer and found it “easy to use” and “intuitive.”
Crestron Electronics // DigitalMedia
The Crestron DigitalMedia (DM) product line was designed to eliminate the complexities of mixing various high-definition resolutions (including 4K) and video together with audio in one system. DM is the only end-to-end system certified by the HDBaseT Alliance. DM transmitters, extenders, receivers, scalers, and switchers are all HDBaseT certified and shipping. Judges liked the comprehensive, systems-based approach to an often-inscrutable task: mixing high-resolution signals. DM users can distribute point-to-point, uncompressed HD video over copper or fiber, and stream, in the same matrix frame; HD, 4K, and streaming are all card-based for maximum flexibility and easy reconfiguration.
D-Tools // SIX 2013 R2 featuring Mobile Quote
Judges found the latest version of D-Tools’ estimation, design, and project management software solution easy to use and applicable to both large commercial integration firms and smaller companies. The product stood out on the value/ ROI criteria by reducing time and costs associated with the design, installation, and integration of AV, energy, automation, lighting, security, and IT/networking systems. Comprehensive data-driven workflows link equipment lists to industry-standard project documentation using a single bill of materials to generate all project documentation, including estimates and drawings. The new Mobile Quote is the first native iOS addition to the platform.
Epson America // Epson PowerLite Pro Z10005UNL
This 3-chip, 3LCD projector is appropriate for corporate, house of worship, rental and staging, galleries, auditoriums, and digital signage. It’s energy-efficient and rated at 10,000 lumens color brightness and 10,000 lumens white brightness; WUXGA/HD 1080p. Advanced connectivity features include HDMI, DVI, SDI, and HDBaseT over a single Cat-5/6 cable. Portrait mode support, curved edge-blending, 360-degree installation, stackable design, and an optional mounting frame design provide installation flexibility. Epson offers seven optional lenses with lens shift, including a new 0.7 short throw lens, and integrates an exceptional array of advanced features for infrastructure and image processing. From the judges: “Very high value installation projector. Very beautiful, very affordable.”
ESP/SurgeX // ESP enVision PCS with Remote Portal
Judges found this an easy-to-use, intelligent, and convenient way to diagnose, monitor, and control power conditions and settings for installations. It’s both a power conditioning tool and a client-education tool since it outputs easy-to-understand graphical reporting of energy data, which can be used when selling energy services. Integrators can instantly view the time-stamped history of power quality events, monitor live data, download/upload reports, manage voltage thresholds, and diagnose power disturbances, as well as supply crucial ROI benchmarks. It’s like having a remote-controlled instant scope meter that also offers surge protection, and it serves as a gateway tool for implementing energy management plans.
Kramer Electronics // VIA Collage
This impressive wireless collaboration hub solves BYOD challenges and integrates PC, Mac, iOS , and Android devices, allowing users to wirelessly collaborate in any meeting. The VIA Collage also allows for video streaming; an HDMI input even allows integration of an external video source. Skype, Go To Meeting, Lync, and WebEx are supported. Up to six presenters’ screens can be displayed on a single display. The Collage digital canvas allows meeting participants to all work on the same document in realtime and save the results to their device. Judges said it “takes screen-sharing presentation to a whole new level with the ability to readily and painlessly collaborate.”
Lab.gruppen // D series with Tesira
This new flagship, install-dedicated, 4-channel DSP amplifier platform continues the Lab.gruppen pedigree and is the most advanced and capable install-dedicated platform ever conceived by the company. Key innovations include new Rational Power Management (RPM) power allocation technology. Lab.gruppen engineers describe the platform as having genuinely open interoperability; It’s a product that can integrate seamlessly with a wide range of digital audio and control protocols. Judges singled out the variant featuring integrated Tesira by Biamp Systems. These dedicated models equipped with Tesira DSP, with AVB audio and control, offer amplifier and DSP platform integration, designed to ensure smooth interoperability.
LG Electronics // 55LV77A Full HD Video Wall Display
Debuted at InfoComm as the world’s slimmest bezel-to-bezel size—3.5mm—this panel can be arranged in a 15x15 matrix with up to 225 total displays. LG’s IPS panel technology ensures color saturation and contrast and provides a temperature tolerance of up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Shine-out capabilities enable clearer display in bright lighting environments. Lightweight at 23kg (about 50lbs.), it is about 30 percent lighter compared to previous models. It supports content playback for up to four separate channels with one media player, along with synchronized playback between multiple channels and players.
Listen Technologies // iDSP RF receiver
This receiver revolutionizes how an RF system works, offering precise clarity claiming 20dB less hiss than other RF receivers. The new integrated neck loop improves the experience for people who have hearing aids and cochlear implants with telecoils. Sleek and small (smaller than an iPhone), the iDSP receiver has a field-replaceable, non-proprietary rechargeable lithium-ion battery, making obsolete the use of alkaline and NiMH batteries. Battery life is eight hours, with a 2.5-hour charge time. This product was among the highest rated by our judges who praised the attention to detail and rated it a “can’t-live-without” product.
Martin Audio // DD12
This powered two-way loudspeaker combines onboard networking, DSP, and Class D amplification with state-of-theart transducers and proprietary Differential Dispersion™ horn technology. Steep-slope FIR crossover filters enable the 1in. exit HF device to outperform larger format drivers, with a maximum SPL output capability of 131dB peak at 1 meter. It’s designed for premium standalone and distributed sound reinforcement requirements; the judges noticed its versatility for application as a main PA, infill loudspeaker, or stage monitor (the compact multi-angle enclosure works either in vertical or horizontal orientation). Infrastructure features include wireless control and monitoring and a powerful internal memory to support preset selection on the rear panel.
Middle Atlantic Products // TechPed™ Series Technology Pedestal
A simple-to-integrate, easy-to-service conference table support system that houses equipment and cables, the TechPed Series Technology Pedestal provides localized equipment mounting in huddle rooms, conference rooms, and other collaboration spaces. It incorporates Middle Atlantic’s proprietary, installer-friendly Frame to Furniture™ design, which eliminates long waits, speeds up integration, and reduces the effects of transit damage. Quick and simplified system maintenance is made possible by the TechPed’s removable side panels and the inclusion of the patent-pending Lever Lock™ tool-free internal management system. Judges rated it as “excellent device and cable management. Very well thought out.”
Peerless-AV // Peerless-AV PeerSound™ Wireless Audio System
The industry’s first and only rackmountable wireless audio transmission system with a remote antenna that sends up to eight channels of audio wirelessly to receivers/speakers up to 140ft. or more away. It provides a reliable wireless solution for zoned audio systems or can be used to support surround sound applications—especially in areas that are difficult and/or costly to run speaker wires. The in-wall or on-wall amplifier allows for clean installations, even when cutting drywall isn’t an option. It supports any audio component for source or speaker, creates its own wireless network, and has a built-in 120/240V power supply.
QSC // CXD-Q Amplifiers
CXD-Q amplifiers are designed for use with the Q-Sys Network Audio Platform. These amps combine Flexible Amplifier Summing Technology™ (FAST) found in the CXD/PLD amplifier platform with Q-Sys network connectivity and processing for an audio routing and power solution. CXD-Q amplifiers operate like other Q-Sys peripherals using the same standard Layer 3 networking technology for audio streaming, control, and monitoring. FAST enables the amp channels to be combined and deployed in a wide-range of installed sound applications. Judges responded to the network integration and new and unique possibilities this opened up for system design.
Rane Corporation // EXP 2X
This collaboration between Rane Corporation and Audinate allows the Rane HAL1x System to interface with a Dante network. The EXP2x supports 32 receive and 32 transmit channels. Built-in sample rate converters support 48kHz or 96kHz sample rates on the Dante network. Integrators can daisy-chain up to 16 EXP2x devices to a single HAL1x to max out at 512x512 channels on both the Dante network (on a single cable) and the HAL1x’s Expansion Bus. Control and configuration software from both companies work together to provide a range of features. Judges again responded to network integration and found it “a cost-effective, user-friendly way to expand IP-based audio.”
Shure Inc. // QLX-D™ Digital Wireless System
This new mid-tier system hit a sweet spot for the judges between ease of use, accessibility, and professional sound quality and features. QLX-D’s spectrum efficiency allows users to operate more channels on-air than with any other wireless system in its class, across a 100-meter (330ft.) range. The 24-bit digital audio allows wider frequency response and dynamic range, with faster transient response and more accurate low-end definition. Up to 17 QLX-D transmitters can simultaneously operate in the space of a 6MHz TV channel (up to 22 over 8MHz TV channels). AES -256 encryption, rechargeable power options, automatic frequency assignment, networking tools, and control software compatibility round out the features.
SiliconCore Technology // Magnolia 1.5mm LED
This is the world’s first 1.50mm-pixel-pitch LE D display with the lowest power dissipation in the industry. At 444,900 pixels per square meter, and the smallest pixel pitch currently available in HD format, it benefits from a super fast refresh rate of over 2,000Hz. Driven by proprietary Common Cahtode technology, the Magnolia impressed judges as “very clear and beautiful. A real winner in LE D displays.” The seamless screen is a true native 4K display, running at a full 60p at 2,000nits brightness. Ultra-wide viewing angles enable off-axis performance without color shift. Capable of 11-point touch and scaleable, it also delivers silent, fan-less operation.
Sony Electronics // VPL-GT Z1 4K ultra short throw laser projector
This “very impressive” new projector combines 4K, laser light source and ultra-short throw capabilities into a model designed for applications including museums, design simulation, fashion, oil and gas, simulation and training, corporate, education, and videowall applications. The VPL-GTZ1’s imaging technology combines Sony’s 4K SXRDTM with a laser phosphor light source. Floor-standing, ceiling-mounted, or used for rear projection, it can throw high-resolution images up to approximately 147in. diagonal and zoom down to 66in., achieved by respective 7in. and 0in. distances from screen, across onto a whiteboard, or any white plane surface.
SVSi // N-Touch N8300-series Wall Controller
These are standalone nine-button two-gang wall controllers. A single network cable provides power and full-duplex data. No additional controller is needed to provide the full functionality of a display and controller at a fraction of the cost. Each of the N8301 or N8302 tactile buttons can be programmed to send up to 100 commands to up to 256 separate IP clients per button. Programming is as basic or powerful as the project requires, executed either via webpage or built-in Panel Builder software. Both controllers impressed the judges as “very easy and flexible.”
Symetrix // SymNet Composer 2.0
A significant development for users of Audinate’s Dante, this is a new release of the SymNet Composer open-architecture design software for Edge and Radius Dante network audio DSPs. Composer 2.0 natively integrates select Dante third-party hardware supporting the discovery, signal routing, and other aspects of AtteroTech unDIO 2x2 and unDX2IO , and Stewart Audio AV25-2 and NetAV 2×2 devices. Composer 2.0 is the only programming environment needed to build a Dante networked system from start to finish. As of this release, integrators will no longer need Audinate’s Dante Controller as well as separate software packages for each manufacturer’s products.
TEKVOX // TEK 2
This is a unique mini-IP-based controller that monitors and manages AV assets. With the TekManager software, an installer can add a TEK 2 to a display without having to know any software. When used with AMX or Crestron, TEK 2 creates a distributed control system that allows the processing to be done at the TEK 2 and not by the control system. Judges liked this as an easy way to easily add appliance controls to preexisting installations or to control a subset of the display system without overloading the control system. A cool app-free web control feature adds to the simplicity.
Vaddio // AV Bridge Matrix PRO
Judges rated this highly for reducing cost and complexity, in this case for PC-based UC conferencing. This system allows integrators to offer advanced mixing, switching, and control via a single US B stream. Based on Vaddio’s award-winning AV Bridge technology, it’s designed for meeting and lecture rooms that support multiple cameras and microphones—up to eight independent audio inputs and four independent video inputs into the US B mixer. It delivers DSP, echo cancellation, complete matrix mixing, Cat-5 camera cabling, independent up/downconversion, various mixer effects, and admin and control features.
Vaddio // RoboSHOT Broadcast and Conference
RoboSHOT represents a new approach to integrated robotic HD PTZ camera technology. The broadcast- quality Tri-Synchronous “On-Air” motion, combined with the new Range-Set optical image range adjustment, results in a smooth and controlled HD video image. Pan/tilt/zoom are now combined into one command for smooth and repeatable “On-Air” camera motion. Range-Set technology allows the integrator to set limits on camera zoom and field-of-view. RoboSHOT comes in a standard broadcast version as well as a conference version for a wider angles-of-view. Both feature a Sony 1/2.8- type Exmor CMOS imaging sensor with native HD resolution of 1080p60.
Video Devices (at Sound Devices booth) // PIX 270i
The PIX 270i is a cost effective, four-drive video deck with multi-unit grouping and 64 track audio recording capability aimed at multicamera/multiscreen applications in live event, HOW, corporate AV, and mobile broadcast. The PIX 270i’s unique simultaneous four-drive recording capability makes it ideal for instant deliverables or redundancy, removing the need for time-consuming post-record copying. Gigabit Ethernet network ports enable remote access to files and the ability to transfer them quickly to a client or postproduction environment. Judges rated it “can’t live without,” and noted its ability to “do a lot in one unit” unique Dante capabilities.
Video Furniture International (VFI) // Electric Lift Collaboration and Video Table
This raise/lower meeting table works for collaboration, videoconferencing, or both. Four synchronized legs are controlled either by surface-mounted button, remote control, or can be programmed for use by touchscreen-type control systems. Camera can be mounted above or below the screen, which is attached to the table surface and tracks up and down with the table. Wiring is concealed and accessible in the table center, and panels can be precut to take most control boxes. Judges described it as “smooth,” “very impressive,” and “makes a statement.” It’s ADA compliant.
Visix // MeetingMinder™ Room Sign Line
This is a full line of room signs with scheduling options that unite digital signage and room management. Meeting- Minder™ meeting room signs display schedules and other digital signage content outside conference rooms or shared workspaces, letting employees and visitors see their space options instantly while staying up-to-date with daily announcements. Whether the goal is to simply show room schedules or employ a fully integrated office hoteling and digital signage solution, this room sign line allows users to schedule space directly at the sign or from any location at any time. “Simple and effective. Easy to install,” according to judges.
WOW Vision (at Starin booth) // Collab8 Eco-System
Judges were impressed with the extensive collaboration toolkit that takes presentation sharing to a new level and makes it available to people sharing a screen, room, or virtual meeting. Features such as common document co-creation from tablets, Mac, and PCs are highly functional and comprehensive. Collab8 allows six wireless contributors, plus external video, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Lync, Zoom, or H.323 videoconferencing participants on screen. HD and 4K streaming video from a laptop can be paused and annotated, as can any other shared programs and a whiteboarding canvas. The new Nucleus Master server allows content sharing among remote locations and will also feed a CDN.
Yamaha // QL Series Digital Audio Console
This console inherits Yamaha CL features such as all-in-one mixing, processing, and routing capability for small-to-medium scale live tour sound, HOW, corporate AV, and speech applications. As with the CL series, the solid, sonic foundation takes full advantage of built-in premium internal processors such as VCM technology, the Portico 5033/5043 created in cooperation with Rupert Neve Designs, and for speech, built-in Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic mixing. Dante provides broad connectivity. Remote control is available via iPad with Yamaha StageMix as well as online/offline QL Editor Software for MAC and PC. Judges found it a highly sophisticated platform for its price range.
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