David J. Danto
Principal Consultant, Collaboration / AV / Multimedia / Video / UC
Director of Emerging Technology
Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance
A View From The Road Volume 9, Number 5
LDI 2015 and Year End Wrap
In This Edition:
· Smaller, Lighter LDI
· InfoComm Connections
· New Products Here and Coming
· CES 2016 Around The Corner
Greetings from the 2015 LDI Conference in Las Vegas. This is the 28th annual conference on staging, lighting and visual technologies and effects. It’s also the conference where they pour so much smoke and fog into the convention center (to see the lighting effects more dramatically) that they have to pay extra to disable the smoke detectors and have fire-watch guards on duty.
Having attended this conference a number of times in the last few years I must admit I was disappointed with this year’s event. It seemed a bit smaller, and although the wow factor was still there it didn’t have many new products that caught my eye as innovations. (My perception could have something to do with the current difficulties the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) is experiencing.) Just about the only product that was completely new to me was a new method of taping-down and securing cables.
The GaffGun is a tool and system that lets you stand-up and walk as you easily organize cables and secure them to the floor. They send their holder tubes at no cost to the tape manufacturers and users simply have to order them with the compatible center. This could save hours on a typical staging project.
When I looked at who won the LDI show awards, I saw that the display I found the most visually stunning won for just that reason.
LDI usually represents the last conference I attend every year until CES starts it all up again in January – but not this year. There is now a new event from InfoComm to keep an eye on. Following-up on their great success with the regional “Connections” in San Jose last March, InfoComm (along with the IMCCA) has brought Connections to New York – Co-locating it with the existing CCW show from the NAB.
This event combines the best in professional video production and satellite communications with InfoComm’s focus on AV and collaboration. There are keynote presentations, free classes and paid seminars on topics of critical importance, including AV/IT, the security of collaboration systems, live acoustics and much more. In addition, the Cisco collaboration team is conducting a workshop – and providing free registration for it and the rest of the conference. Just click the picture below and use VIP code CISCONY.
As we come up toward the end of year we’ve seen a lot of recent announcements and new products in the collaboration technology space - and are expecting even more early next year. Here are some to note and watch:
· A great deal has been said and written about the Microsoft Surface Hub – by myself and others – so I won’t go into the weeds again here. January 2016 represents the latest promised date for this product to become generally available. Let’s all wait to see what happens once it is actually a product that can be delivered and people actually start using it. Will it be a huge hit or a big disappointment? That call will come from the users of the system, but only after they begin trying to use an actual production model.
· Polycom just announced a new series of products and solutions to meet the needs of the “Workplace of the Future.” While this announcement included a new generation of their iconic speakerphone, a new set-top codec, a center-of-the-room visual collaboration hub and other products and services, in my opinion the most important part of their announcement was their acknowledgment of the death of the traditional integrated AV room. Polycom’s RealPresence Medialign systems take their place beside Cisco’s MX series and others as the future of room based collaboration. They are simple, one piece systems from one source that include everything typical rooms need - and utilize PTZ cameras that can auto-track the speakers. If you’re still building integrated videoconference rooms with components from multiple manufacturers then you’re headed the same way as the dinosaurs.
· While simplicity in the room and at the UI is the key to the future of effective visual collaboration, interoperability is still the key to effective infrastructure design. Acano has just recently updated their visual branding and is on the precipice of releasing the next generation of their systems. If you’re not paying attention to what they have done and will be doing in 2016 then you’re missing a big story.
· A lot has been said about Persistent Virtual Collaboration spaces – Whether it’s Slack or Cisco Spark or any of the others. Apparently email has been declared “bad” and “dead” by everyone – or at least everyone that has a product or service that competes with it. Everyone should be aware of how these new products affect workflow and where they might be useful. But despite anyone anointing them kings of the future of collaboration, the reality is that they are still a novelty with only marginal value for the typical organzation. Watching how they develop in 2016 will be interesting.
As this year nears its end a new series of webcasts is beginning. In association with the team at AVNationTV I am hosting and producing “Connected! – Everything IoT.” This program will explore how the Internet of Things will affect our lives – with something of a focus on things important to the AV and collaboration professional.
It will include product demonstrations, expert discussions, actionable advice and much more. The first episode is live now, and expect the rest to follow just about every month. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Click the picture above to view, and feel free to leave comments and suggestions.
That’s it for this View From The Road. Look for the next one in January from the 2016 CES. I am honored and privileged again this year to have been a judge for the CES Innovation Awards – and I can state with certainty that there are a lot of amazing products and technologies being shown there in January. I’m sure the January episode of Connected! will have lots of new IoT devices to show from CES.
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This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David has over three decades of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your collaboration product or service.
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