By Jason Allen
Industry tradeshows are all about forging and strengthening relationships, from supplier, to business, to end user. It’s why it’s all important for brands whose distribution has recently changed to be there – new relationships need to start, and existing customers need to be introduced to new products. Integrate 2016 saw an unusually large number of changes in the pro AV distribution landscape. Two prominent brands left Hills; TOA has moved to Australis and AKG to CMI. Both new distributors were there with their new range in force, and both represent significant expansions to their wholesale trade and market presence.
While Biamp’s departure from Hills was announced months ago, Integrate saw new distributor Midwich carry the brand on their stand in Australia for the first time. Biamp’s own technical development staff were there in person, and Biamp’s Business Development and Consultant Liaison Manager, Jim Seretis talked us through Devio, Biamp’s answer to huddle room conferencing, which includes a processor with HDMI and USB 3.0 connectivity, plus a choice of ceiling or tabletop beamforming microphones.
Don McConnel’s Audio Brands Australia continues to expand, and they’re now carrying the full Earthworks range of recording, performance and analysis microphones, as well as their high-performance pre-amps. Audio Brands also added another useful product category in Frontrow, an American manufacturer that specialises in classroom sound, automated lesson capture and distribution, room control, and campus control, all built with the simplicity and reliability that market demands.
ULA Group have taken on an extremely interesting product range in Belgium’s Glassiled – an LED embedded glass video pixel product. Put simply, it’s big, building-rated sheets of glass with a matrix of LEDs in them, which are practically invisible until they’re turned on. The LEDs – either monochrome or RGB – are powered via a super-efficient, transparent conductive layer, offering an animated glass façade that is high in brightness and luminosity. The invisible wiring assures that the vision is not obstructed and the glass retains its primary function – transparency. Entire buildings can be made of Glassiled, and then turned into a giant canvas for programmed lighting or pixel mapped video.
Amber Technology, in addition to the new Sonance commercial speaker range, were showing off their new brand Contacta, an English marque that manufactures across the hearing assistance, queue management, speech transfer (think talking to bank tellers through security glass) and security sectors. While every pro knows that hearing loops are compulsory in Australian buildings where there is amplified speech, what many of us don’t know is that there is an enormous market for small, domestic hearing loops. Amber’s Richard Neale showed us a small device that takes an optical output from your TV or AV receiver, meaning the hard-of-hearing can listen at their own level without affecting anyone else in the family. Simple, but clever!
Corsair Solutions became the first Australasian distributor for Canada’s Inogeni, who make a range of video converters and collaboration tools. Corsair’s Mark Hall gave us a guided tour of Inogeni’s Share 2, a dual video to USB 3.0 ‘super-converter’. The Share 2 accepts multiple video and audio inputs, from webcams, HDMI, USB 3.0 and analogue audio, and can mix everything together into one USB 3.0 out. It’s perfect for use with soft codecs like Skype or GoToMeeting, and can be controlled via RS232 or by the extremely straightforward button interface on the top of the unit.
Finally, Jands were displaying their new range of auditorium and back-of-house LED lighting solutions from the UK’s Global Design Solutions (GDS). Known foe their tungsten-like smooth dimming, GDS’s ArcSystem is a range of modular, efficient LED lighting products designed for use in auditorium and arena spaces, using wired DMX or the wireless ArcMesh protocol. Venues that fit the system are said to achieve an energy use reduction of between 70% and 90%, with the low-power and low-heat output of LED lighting not only costing less to illuminate the space, but also drastically reducing the need for air-conditioning.
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