In the two years between InfoComm shows, Las Vegas has changed. Marijuana shops have sprung up, new artists such as Jennifer Lopez have settled into long residencies, new casinos have been built and business is generally booming. The A/V business has also dramatically changed over that period and those differences will be evident tomorrow on the packed show floors.
The North and Central Halls within the Las Vegas Convention Centre (LVCC) are once again home to around 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest A/V technologies from around the world. The numerous audio, video, lighting, digital signage and control technologies embraced on the show floor are balanced by over 20 audio demonstration rooms off the show floor. No fewer than 300 educational seminars had already taken place as part of the CTS programme prior to the ceremonial ribbons being cut. Whilst the show floor was off limits, the adjacent audio demonstration rooms were accessible.
As in previous years, the show’s location draws a unique audience for which more individuals from Asia Pacific, Latin American and the West Coast of the USA are evident. Visitor numbers are expected to surpass the 40,000 mark over the 3-day event. Some of the early bird arrivals were allowed to sneak matinee performances in the audio demonstration rooms where Community promoted its I-series Modular Vertical Array 600, L-Acoustics promoted Syva and its L-ISA immersive sound reinforcement and KV2 Audio showcased its ESR series.
What’s on the show floor?
As in 2017, Alcons Audio has teamed up with fellow Dutch innovator Astro Spatial Audio to promote immersive audio technology incorporating Alcons cinema systems and SARA 3D. Immersive audio technology is definitely in vogue, as d&b audiotechnik demonstrates its DS-10 Soundscape, whilst Renkus-Heinz has teamed up with Timax to promote its new IC Live XL, TA-4 and TA-81 technologies. Martin Audio is debuting its latest SXH218 hybrid subwoofer addition to Wavefront Precision, whilst demonstrating the O-Line in an immersive setup with a little help from Astro Spatial.
The demo rooms are evolving. Rather than simply shaking dust out of the overhead ceilings with their ‘beam shaking’ SPLs, two Californian manufacturers differentiated from the others. The QSC booth promotes a portfolio of Premium Business Music Solutions, including multi-zone mixers, wall controllers, configurable multi-channel MP-A amplifiers and SUB/SAT loudspeakers including the AD-S series, plus accompanying installation and management apps for configuration and system management. Meanwhile, the Meyer Sound demonstration area resembles a low lit bar and networking area to stylishly promote the latest Ashby 8-c ceiling speakers and UP-4slim speakers within.
In more traditional fashion, several East Coast manufacturers have pulled out their latest line array systems for InfoComm 2018. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Community was focussing its energies on the I Series 600 modular vertical array. Having started its business two years prior to Bruce Howze, Clair Brothers has never demonstrated its speaker systems at InfoComm before. Hopefully, the results will be worth it for the PA-based innovator which is showcasing its latest 10 Spot coax point source with curved array technology, smaller 5CX and 8CX installation models, plus the larger format C8 and C12 line arrays. EAW’s Radius series is extended with the RSX212L line array module and RSX18F subwoofer, and these are being played using the new UX series of amplifiers.
It’s VIO Las Vegas for dBTechnologies, plugging its VIO line array and subwoofer series together with the Opera Unica, ES column and Ingenia speaker systems via Aurora Net software. Its sister company RCF has been steadily gaining traction in the US for two decades and its new Mk2 versions of the HDL-30 speaker system, VSA-2050, TTS18 and Sub-9006 will continue that trend. At the same time as RCF launched the ART series, DAS Audio unveiled its DS portable cabinets to critical acclaim. This year, the Spaniards are highlighting the new Quantum series cabinets, the HQ series created for large outdoor environments and DAS Aim digital steering technology using FIR filters to adapt cabinets to varying applications.
It’s less than two years since Luke Jenks was appointed managing director of the newly founded Coda Audio USA. He is clearly enjoying his role as the brand’s slickly presented demo draws upon live music from Sofia Barcelona, a company video history and technological overviews of Coda Coupler, AiRAY, ViRAY, Linus amplification, Linet digital audio transportation, CoRAY and HOPS.
The Bosch booth reveals a split personality with EV’s Evolve and X-Line X1-212 speaker systems sharing the limelight with Dynacord’s new flagship TGX-10 amplifier. In a similar fashion, Nexo and Yamaha also shared their demonstration area promoting the ID24, STM and GEO M12 speakers and NX AMP Mk2 amplifiers from Paris with the latest DXS and DZR portable systems from Hamamatsu.
The North Hall is seeing large numbers heading towards the Crestron booth where AirBoard, AirMedia, Digital Media and Xio Cloud are being launched and in close proximity, Wyrestorm launches its H2XC Network HD 600-series with touchscreen. Located in the Central Hall, Sony is revealing its Immersive 4K and 8K crystal LED technologies, PTZ cameras and Bravia displays, whilst Kramer expects a high visitor count to witness the latest VS-622DT presentation system.
Alliances are formed
The pre-show spotlight was trained on both Audinate and the SDVoE Alliance who jointly announced collaboration on an integrated A/V control environment. The union of an organisation promoting a video standard capable of extension and switching through chipset technology with the ever-popular Dante audio standard will now provide the A/V world with the accepted standard for A/V signal transportation.
If anyone thought the AVnu Alliance had faded away, then reports of its demise were unfounded. A number of manufacturers, including L-Acoustics, d&b audiotechnik, Meyer Sound, Biamp and Avid, are jointly hosting a presentation and live demonstration to unveil a new network solution that they claim will reshape the A/V networking industry, Milan. It’s not just immersive audio and networking technologies that demand collaboration in order to advance technologies. Manufacturers continue to be drawn together to create a ‘solution’ for their customers. This year’s InfoComm partnerships include QSC and Wyrestorm, Visionary Solutions and Symetrix, amongst many others.
Integrated ‘smart’ seminars
Integrated Life @ InfoComm 2018 is a new addition combining speciality workshops and sessions, plus a dedicated area on the InfoComm 2018 show floor for highlighting smart building, smart home, mobile, security and related A/V solutions wherever people use technology. Meanwhile, the Centre Stage sessions explore how to increase audience engagement through personalised and immersive experiences by way of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), wearable technology, human-centred user interfaces, and more.
Whether it’s an addition to a loudspeaker series or the latest presentation technologies, all the InfoComm exhibitors are showcasing something new, with or without the help of others, to sit in a network providing a solution for users in educational facilities, huddle rooms, boardrooms, court rooms, houses of worship, clubs, restaurants, venues, bars and correctional facilities.