Surely You Gesture

Integrated Systems Europe 2012 was held two weeks ago in Amsterdam. One of the more interesting items to come out of it was a demo by Crestron that showed a Microsoft Kinect integrated with a control system – in this case controlling the PowerPoint and lighting. Here is the link. Go watch it. I’ll wait….

http://www.commercialintegrator.com/article/crestron_demos_microsoft_kinect_gesture_control

Cool huh? Sure it’s pretty basic, but could this be the predecessor of our future control systems? It is Crestron dabbling in this after all; I don’t think that’s insignificant.

One advantage I have heard mentioned is no more gunky touch screens. (Do you really have people who clean them periodically?)

A gesture based system may allow for control from a wider range of locations. I am assuming, like mine, your faculty relate to AV control locations the way cats relate to patio doors: the other side would be better.

Many of us have wondered where touch-sensitive monitors are going. Are they going to take over for interactive whiteboards and give us something easier to integrate into an auditorium? If gesture control develops fast enough could it steal some of that thunder and let us turn any image into an interactive whiteboard? I think that level of annotation and interaction, coupled with the ability to wander around the teaching area, might just be the “killer app.”

Voice control? I don’t know. Siri seems to be having quite a bit of trouble with accents. I’m sure the algorithms will get better, but most of our campuses are quite the eclectic mix of nationalities. I can’t help but think we will be a difficult application to master. Besides, how much error-free consistency do you want to see in a control system before you install it in a room? With voice control the first one they yell at is the system, and you know who the second is….

I think it’s intriguing. I think it’s something we are going to see more of. I think it has some great potential. What do you think? Is this the (ahem) wave of the future.

Class Capture

I have been working with the new Crestron Capture HD. So far, I am very impressed. What I like most about it is that there is not huge backend required to use it. A simple USB thumb drive will suffice. Therefore, the initial cost is much lower than anything else on the market. What I am not nuts about is that it records in .ts. This format is a real pain to work with. So far, all I have really found that plays nice with .ts is VLC.

Survey Analysis: In-house Systems Install

More than 120 technology managers and directors responded to our questions about prevailing issues that affect the choices we make when planning to bring new learning spaces online. All respondents were directly involved in some aspect of learning space development (i.e. planning, design, procurement, project management, quality control, installation). As evidence of AV-1’s commitment to keeping surveys brief, the majority completed the survey in less than ten minutes.

What follows is our analysis of five key elements explored in the survey.
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Tiner’s Take on Customer Service Through Controls

“Our rooms talk to us,” says Scott Tiner, Assistant Director for Classroom Technologies at Bates College. In his recent InfoCOMM webinar titled Leveraging Existing Technologies to Create Exceptional Customer Service Tiner mapped out the importance of tapping the usage-tracking capabilities of the technologies we already have in place in order to maximize not just customer service, but also to contribute valuable data to institutional planning.

This is important stuff. Networked control systems can do much more than just dim the lights and raise the volume, all current systems provide hooks to a database in which every button-push and device-selection is recorded and time-stamped. Furthermore, graphic touch panels offer the added benefit of serving as real-time trouble-shooting tools that can minimize session interruptions and empower users to “fix the glitch” before it turns into everyone’s problem. Continue reading

Report from InfoCOMM 2011

Orlando, FL. While attending InfoCOMM 2011, we asked key industry insiders to speak directly to the AV-1 community and to share their views of the most critical issues ahead. The following articles include brief video clips from individuals possessing uncommon insight, intuition and experience.

While this is by no means an exhaustive report, we hope that you find these views useful to your due diligence and decision-making.

[Editor's note: Interviews are provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement. Neither AV-1, nor the author have received any form of compensation in exchange for these posts.]

This list is shown in last-in-first-out (LIFO) order. In the coming weeks, additional interviews and articles will be posted to the top of this list.

Table of Contents


Mark Valenti, The Sextant Group, discusses the up-side of a down economy as an inspiration for outside-the-box tech planning.

Ernie Bailey, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, speaks about the importance of cross-training to get the best out of AV and IT support staff.

 
Jody Forehand, Luidia, on the cost-effective approach of adding components as-needed.

Jackie Deluna, AMX on the importance of social proof for mission-critical technologies.

John Heffelfinger, Crestron, on the value of end-to-end technology solutions. 

Andrew Edwards, President of Extron, on the zen of simplification and support.

Andrew J. Milne, PhD, Tidebreak CEO, on the meaning and impact of collaborative learning environments. 

Mario Maltese, Audio Visual Resources CEO, on the impact of the AV9000 Standard and the future of zero-defect projects.

What’s your view? Are we seeing the big picture? Leave a reply below or discuss it with fellow AV-1 members on the AV-1 List.

Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – Sextant Group

This interview is part of AV-1′s Report from InfoCOMM 2011, in which we ask key industry insiders to share their views on the critical issues ahead. You can contribute your thoughts on this interview in the Comment Area below. AV-1 members may discuss this important topic in greater detail on the AV-1 List.

16-years ago, Mark Valenti left a good gig in broadcasting to start the AV design firm, The Sextant Group. The idea was simple: bring broadcast-quality precision and production values to the broader market. Twice recognized as one of the best places to work, the firm has made a name for itself in high-profile tech planning and design projects despite being not-the-lowest-price proposal on the table. Continue reading

Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – AMX

This interview is part of AV-1′s Report from InfoCOMM 2011, in which we ask key industry insiders to share their views on the critical issues ahead. You can contribute your thoughts on this interview in the Comment Area below. AV-1 members may discuss this important topic in greater detail on the AV-1 List.

The AMX brand is as much about culture as it is about technology. Their big-as-Texas heart is evident in their customer commitment (think of all the organizations that still operate the old Axcess Controller card cages they installed 15-years ago), their sometimes cheeky-yet-endearing marketing approach (remember the “We were just kidding about that Panja thing” campaign?), and their blazing technology firsts (networked controls, asset management software, media server, and especially their advocacy for open standards-based platforms). It’s no wonder they’ve been named one of the top 25 Best Medium-size Companies to Work for in America four years in a row.

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Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – Extron

This interview is part of AV-1′s Report from InfoCOMM 2011, in which we ask key industry insiders to share their views on the critical issues ahead. You can contribute your thoughts on this interview in the Comment Area below. AV-1 members may discuss this important topic in greater detail on the AV-1 List.

Technology in learning would not be what it is today without Extron. When computer manufacturers needed a way to display a computer screen image on a 3-beam projector, Extron worked it out… a quarter of a century ago.

But just “working it out” has never been Extron’s style. In addition to designing cutting-edge components that play well with others, the company has amassed the most comprehensive open library of whitepapers and technical briefs serving to demystify the wild array of protocols and topologies that complicate our lives. Continue reading

Good Enough: A Reader Chimes In

To the Editor:

I enjoyed reading your treatise on Good-Enough innovation and wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I know many people who won’t even attempt anything new unless the result offers some guarantee of perfection. They always talk about how they’ve got their eye out for opportunities that can deliver the “big win” and the “slam-dunk” but these folks never seem to get much accomplished. Maybe they think it’s too risky?

Please accept the following list of good-enough innovations that I think are worth mentioning.

If you decide to post this please sign me,

Anita Vidwell

Lego_Color_Bricks_180 1949, Lego-brand “Automatic Binding Bricks” (a.k.a. “Legos”). How could you guys have missed this one? Legos were all over Bob Capp’s article in Wired: The Lego version of Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover was clearly meant to represent MP3′s harsh rendering of music. The Lego sculpture of a desk telephone tells me that Skype may not be as good as a real telephone, but it’s close enough for jazz (no pun on the previous musical reference). A Lego model of the Predator plane can’t actually fly, but then the actual MQ-1 Predator is too small to carry a pilot, so it’s kind of a toy plane that drops real bombs. Lego bricks are kind of an anti-toy because the play they inspire has to come entirely from the child’s imagination. Legos are about the only toy that adults can play with without shame. As a kid, Legos inspired my little brother to flush them down the toilet. He really liked plumbing.

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