The biggest trends in meeting technology from InfoComm 2018
In a series of three blog posts, our Technical Director Jason Brameld reports back from InfoComm 2018, an annual show and exhibition from the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). Read his must-know recaps from InfoComm 2018, featuring developments in live event technology and consumer electronics technology
Braving the intense Las Vegas heat, I joined more than 43,000 visitors and 964 exhibitors at this year’s InfoComm 2018. The show brings together big players and their latest product developments from across the audio visual marketplace, including AV and IT, technology, business, live events and audio visual in education.
At Torpedo Factory Group, we’re committed and passionate about using the best possible technology to deliver our meeting, performance and event productions, and I’m excited to share my insights on the biggest trends in meeting technology with our readers.
Meeting environment technology
Huddle Rooms continue their march with many products dedicated to this area of the market. Everything from the Huddly camera to the Revolabs (now Yamaha UC) personal speakerphone device – all intended for this area of the market. There is also more furniture dedicated to this space, Ashton Bentley are still leading the way with their integrated furniture and tech solutions as an all-in-one bundle.
The software behind the tech
More software platforms are emerging to facilitate easy conferencing and collaboration. ZiipRooms joins the ranks of Zoom, Webex Teams, Microsoft and the other longer established players as a new start-up offering a cloud software-based control mechanism for huddle and meeting rooms. It also introduces an element of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the AV world than can learn user habits and respond accordingly. The software is platform-independent and will work on any technology.
Crestron’s Airboard which can be used on any whiteboard surface.
Vendor partnerships which allow complementary technology to work with some of the larger conferencing platforms are also starting to appear. For instance, Lightware have integrated some of their switching and control systems to the Cisco Touch 10 to give native control from the Cisco panel. Screen vendors such as LG and NEC are also getting their products “Cisco Approved”.
Workplace of the future
Innovations in the workplace are often said to be driven by the advent of millennials entering the workforce, but the drive for better tools and flexible working arrangements is coming from many areas of the workforce. So what does the future workplace look like? This was the question posed as part of InfoComm 2018’s Emerging Trends series.
It is true that millennials seek fulfilling employment in an environment that equips them with the tools they need. And what they need isn’t just a laptop connected to a server somewhere, but a suite of tools for data access, sharing and collaboration across multiple platforms that keeps them “connected anywhere”.
Dynamic workspaces where staff drop in for specific functions are vouched to replace large fixed office buildings. As connected technology becomes a workflow enabler, the AV integration and unified communications markets need to place themselves in the future, selling workflow enablement and “AV as a Service”.
A spotlight on Crestron
As a true powerhouse of product development and industry leadership, Crestron is a useful gauge for where the industry is heading. At their Consultant Summit, they discussed their move into the networked world of signal distribution and moving control to cloud services to rapidly deploy standardised rooms without the need for on-site programming.
Crestron are also partnering with more third parties to bring external software and signage into their meeting room products. Highlights of these partnerships are Zoom room control, Huddly webcams and scheduling with EMS, AppSpace, Robin and Teem. Other integrations with Apple TV, Siri and Homekit use artificial intelligence (AI) to power audio visual meeting technology.
On their stand, Crestron showcased more products at the lower end of the cost spectrum, including new table connection boxes with both UK and universal power outlets and a natty lid mechanism, along with new, retractable gravity-drop cables and tabletop caddies.
To sum up
One quote I heard at the conference which seemed to ring true can be attributed to Justin Trudeau: “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.” At the current rate of technological change, innovations and apps popping up all over the shop to improve the experience of businesses organisers, it will be interesting to see where the meeting technology marketplace will go this year and what will be on show at InfoComm 2019!