Notes from ISE: Day 2—Crestron, Runco, Niles, and More
2/2/2012 5:51 AM
For a first-time attendee like me, the second day of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) in Amsterdam began to feel much like any other major trade show in a more familiar U.S. destination, just with more accents, and better-dressed people.
The first stop of the morning was the Crestron press conference at the control manufacturer’s booth where marketing communications director Jeff Singer eschewed the usual blue logo’d company shirt for black sweater and black pants. I didn’t ask if this wardrobe decision had more to do with the trade show’s euro vibe or more to do with his hourly demo that featured Kinect gesture control of a Crestron automation system.
Singer spent most of his hour with the press describing products like Capture Live HD for universities that want to record professors teaching college courses, while simultaneously streaming them over the web, as well as how the technology is enabled by the company’s DigitalMedia technology, which transmits uncompressed AV over Cat-5e and fiber. But the really cool demo was a demonstration cooked up by the company’s own “skunkworks,” called Crestron Labs, which enabled Singer to control the lights or advance or reverse his presentation slides on his mini stage, using hand gestures. Watch a video of Singer's demo here.
Next, CEDIA held its own press conference where new chairman of the board for the North American CEDIA chapter, Federico Bausone, introduced himself, and we also met new UK chairman Garry Lewis, from London, who said that despite the cancellation of CEDIA UK this year, his region had increased its membership by 87 new members.
At Elite Screens, marketing manager Dave Rodgers showed me the company’s new Lunette A4K curved-frame projection screen that uses Elites latest and most refined acoustically transparent projection material, as well as its MaxWhite, MaxWhite FG, and Versawhite projection screen materials, which have all received GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality and GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certifications.
My first full-on demo of the day was in a room featuring Runco products, where VP of marketing Jennifer Davis introduced several projectors, including the brand-new LS-12d projector, which is the company’s first active-shutter 3D option. It has been priced at $27,995 and will ship in April. Of course video content plays a major part in a successful 3D demo, but Davis’ presentation of Kung Fu Panda 2 was one of the most natural (albeit animated) active-shutter presentations that I’ve watched. Just as interesting was the company’s new LS-HB short-throw projector, which is intended for “flex theaters” where a homeowner doesn’t want a big projector hanging from a ceiling at the back of the room. Instead, the projectors are mounted right above or below the screen.
Runco's LS-100d was one of several projectors on display.
Next up was my first look at a preview of D-Tools’ new Systems Integrator 6 (aka D-Tools SIx), which features a new user interface that unifies data and project features in one view, much in the format of MS Office’s ribbon UI).
Niles compact subwoofers have even more technical features tailored to the custom installation industry.
The highlight of my stop at the AVC Group was a conversation with Niles Audio president Mike Detmer, who showed me his company’s two new compact subwoofers, the SW8 and SW6.5. In addition to designer-friendly features, such as fingerprint-resistant piano-black finishes, the SW6.5 and SW8 have even more technical features tailored to the custom installation industry. They both feature automated turn-on via 12 volt trigger or audio signal sensing and include a built in Cat-5 balun to enable audio delivery over easy-to-use Cat-5 cable. Additionally, both models come with a built-in bracket-mount that is compatible with the optional OmniMount 30.0 ST-MP to allow easy wall or ceiling mounting, making it perfect for bars, restaurants and other light commercial installations. Installers can further increase the subwoofers’ placement flexibility by going wireless with the optional Niles SW-T wireless transceiver and SW-R receiver that easily attaches to a built-in mounting port on the rear of the subwoofers.
The quote of the day? Mike Detmer, in explaining why his brand’s two subs needed to stand out from the crowd, told me: “Too many subwoofers are coming out of puppy mills. We wanted ours to be premium products with added value.”