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 meeting 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 emerging trends in the audio visual space with our readers.
Hot or not: Consumer Electronics
We were in for a few surprises when InfoComm 2018 showcased its hot or not technologies in the consumer electronics marketplace this year. Poised as hot technologies on the market this year are:
- Smart cars
- Micro LEDs – this could be the TV tech of the future
- Voice recognition
- AI and machine learning
- Instant cameras (think Polaroid Mk II!)
- Flexible displays
On the lukewarm list for the upcoming period are:
- Facial recognition
- Virtual or augmented reality
- The 8k TV
- Smart appliances
Featuring a few surprises, the cold electronics list includes:
- 4k TV
- UHD Blu-Ray
- Laser TV projection
- Streaming media
AI meets AV
The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into the AV world is an emerging theme for many sectors, so it wasn’t surprising that a portion of the Emerging Trends day was dedicated to its impact on the AV industry
AI at home
Voice control is on the rise for many domestic TV products and personal assistant platforms like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Pioneering vendors are developing products that integrate AI into the world of AV control, and over time this will displace touch panels, buttons and gesture control (not that the latter was really a thing).
Just as computing power is increasing and there are moves to the cloud and, ultimately, Quantum Computing, so the world of AI is accelerating forwards. Emerging from the world of one-app-per-function that we use today, on the AI horizon are more integrated tools and chatbots that can talk to each other and carry out tasks like diary co-ordination, analytic and predictive functionalities, and fully automated processes that need little human intervention. What will we do all day?
Virtual assistants will evolve from the purely transactional (“Alexa, add milk to my shopping list”) and voice search (“Siri, what’s the best-selling brand of almond milk?”) to full language interaction and business functions. AI will be able to hold down conversations and may even explain why it’s asking you to do something. Perhaps relationships can be formed with your AI device – after all, orders for Toshiba’s Aiko robotic assistant are soaring.
AI systems are emerging to do things we can’t or don’t care to do and offer help and support. The intention isn’t to replace humans altogether, but reduce the burden of repetitive and low-level tasks, such as automated stock counting, and allowing humans to concentrate on “higher functions”.
Harnessing data to improve maintenance services
As our ability to collect more data from systems and products improves, so does our capability to better predict when something will break down. Harnessing the power of data means the maintenance service model shifts from the reactive (“it’s broken, come and mend it”), to leapfrog preventative (“we’re coming to check all of your equipment if you’ve used it or not”) and on to predictive (“we can see that your corporate boardroom is in heavy use and the lamp hours on the projector have almost expired, would you like to book a fitting?”).
This function can clearly be supported by data analytics and machine learning, which can tell us when to fix something before it breaks. Ultimately, the machine may one day be able to discuss a suitable time with the client’s room booking engine and book the appointment itself.
The repair (break-fix) costs would go down – the service provider charges more for the analytical services and predictive maintenance, and spends less time and money looking at healthy equipment that is little used. Meanwhile, the client sees less failure, although there’s always the danger that they won’t grasp the value of a service on equipment that doesn’t break.
To sum up
InfoComm 2018 put the spotlight on some exciting technologies on the horizon for the AV marketplace, which are set to impact the full range of live event, workplace and entertainment experiences. A constantly evolving industry, AV technology is growing and adapting in intuitive ways to changes in user behaviour and advances in analytics, as well as the demands for changing service delivery models.
Recap on the hottest new developments and demos in live event technology and meeting technology from InfoComm 2018.