Infocomm 2018 Day 2 Impressions

June 8, 2018 by Dave Haynes

LAS VEGAS – I didn’t think it was possible, but Fremont Street is even weirder than the last time I spent a night around there.

The ride history feature on Lyft’s app is a very effective tool for dealing with the “What time did you get in?” question after a night on Fremont and elsewhere. 2:43 am. Hic.

Not going to Infocomm this morning, as I have a noon hour flight. So, here’s my roundup impressions of Day 2, with no Day 3 to come. The show will no doubt issue a report on its attendee stats in the next few days.

It was still busy, but there were lotsa people in lotsa smaller booths spending quality time on their smartphones by mid-afternoon Thursday.

I had enough time to meander the two main halls, though it is nagging at me that maybe I missed some hall. I didn’t see much home and building automation stuff, though I believe those guys were there … somewhere.

Sharp’s 8K LCD video wall was very impressive, as was a single 8K screen.

Had a long chat with Peter Chan, who runs Lighthouse, which was a BIG player in outdoor LED going back 15 years, but kind of went off the radar screen more recently. Turns out the company never really went away, and has quietly been behind a lot of high profile installations, primarily in sports venues and Digital OOH. The company was at Infocomm showing fine pitch indoor product, and it looked very nice. Deep, deep blacks.

One thing that struck me about it was the ease of install and servicing. The LED modules pulled out by magnet, which isn’t all that unusual, but there is just a single, HDMI-sized docking connector. The company also has a couple of products that come packaged in such a way that they have protective edges and come out of the box almost like a TV.

I did a long look around the Shenzhen LED area that Infocomm weirdly labeled as the digital signage area. There is stuff that looks really good, and stuff that looks pretty bad. What I heard from a number of people who know LED was their concern that many of these unfamiliar brands from China are selling product that doesn’t have UL or FCC certifications. They are expecting integrators and end-users to be happy with that, and with no technical support on this side of the Pacific.

Doesn’t work that way.

Some of these companies are so suspect they ship product over and have For Sale signs on them, so they don’t have to ship the modules back.

Leyard, a giant which does have all those things, has a very busy booth and was showing a 0.7mm display that looked gorgeous. That pixel pitch is pretty much the same pitch as LCD. That said, Lord knows what it would cost compared to an LCD of the same kind of dimension. Would involve many zeroes.

Peerless AV toured me around a booth that was expressly segmented to displays and mounts, with displays at the front. The Chicago-area company is trying to reinforce to integrators and end-users that it does a lot more than mounts, and has a lot of R&D and engineering done through the years for outdoor-ready displays. I’m guilty, as are many industry people, of assuming Peerless just does enclosures for this sort of stuff. In fact, the company buys LCD glass but otherwise does the whole nine yards, with rugged outdoor product rated all the way to IP68.

I spent some time in the Visix booth, and got demo’d on the Atlanta company’s new software. What impressed me was the focus on real-time data for employee communications, which is a big vertical for these guys. Easy to use, with lotsa tools. If your company works with corporate clients, you absolutely have to have the capability to mine and display real-time data in visually interesting, relevant ways.

Had a chat with a Brighton, UK company – BitVu – that has a couple of teeny Linux-based player boxes it uses with SaaS software to offer a solution aimed at small businesses – primarily – and costs just $10 a month, inc. hardware. Will be following up with a podcast chat.

In an interesting move, IAdea has added device management capabilities to its players and integrated player/screens. CEO John Wang told me the thinking is that many software providers don’t have much in the way of tools to monitor and troubleshoot devices in the field, so this will raise uptimes and make management easier. For those software partners that already do have device management in their toolkit, there’s an API to tap into and the systems can run in parallel. It comes free with devices under warranty.

Saw much more but I need to pack, find coffee, and motor my way to the airport and another joyful ride on Air Canada Rouge. Ugh.

If you are in Vegas, great to see you. Safe travels home.

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