Fall arrived early this year in the New York metropolitan area with the E4 Experience, a one-day event hosted by Pro AV distributor, educator, and training provider Exertis Almo. The E4 Experience is a day of training, education, and networking for the Pro AV industry, exemplified by the four ‘E’s’ (Education, Explore, Engage, and Expo) in ‘E4’. The NY Metro event was held at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe on September 20. It was the first in the fall series for the E4 Experience, with the second rendition to be held in Phoenix, AZ on October 18.
The keynote address, “8 Cool New Products and 5 New Technologies That Will Change the AV Industry Forever!” by Gary Kayye was an enticing introduction to the E4 Experience. As co-founder and director of the rAVe Agency, a TEDx Talk speaker, and an educator at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Kayye is well-versed in presenting trends in the AV industry. His opening keynote address was a great way to kick off a day of learning, exploring, and excitement for the future of the AV industry.
Kayye’s Krystal Ball
Kayye started his keynote with his ‘Krystal Ball’, a column he writes and publishes yearly on his blog LAVNCH about his predictions for the AV, UCC, and digital signage industries for the year. He also lines it up against predictions from the previous year to evaluate his accuracy. The 2023 edition of Kayye’s ‘Krystal Ball’ was published earlier this year and acted as a great segue into the rest of the keynote address.
Major projector market growth alongside new upgrades
The first prediction Kayye outlined was major growth in the projector market due to increased upgrade cycles. He cites the bounceback from supply chain disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic as a key factor in spurring new projects and upgrades involving projectors.
All-in-one and one for all
To get around issues such as low availability and backlogs of products (again, due to COVID-19 supply chain issues), Kayye forecasts that integrators will begin incorporating products and systems that can perform multiple functions.
A boost in brand partnerships
Building off of the previous prediction, Kayye interprets that the rise in all-in-one products will lead to more brand partnerships and collaborations.
Meeting equity, featuring the Huddly Crew multicamera
Kayye speculates that the new AI-directed multicamera conference system Huddly Crew from Huddly will revolutionize video conferences and meetings. With a 6K image sensor that can capture the subtle gestures and nuances of each guest, Huddly Crew allows virtual participants to be fully included in meetings. Not only will this technology change the way virtual meetings are conducted and experienced, but it will also reinforce the importance of meeting equity at companies.
Pay for what you want in AV
AV-as-a-service (AVaaS) will become the standard model for the AV industry. He cited strategies from companies like BMW and Mercedes as examples, where manufacturers streamline production by having customers choose whether to pay a monthly fee on top of the product for specific features and perks in their own personal vehicle like heated seats or built-in Wi-Fi. With AVaaS, integrators can offer clients upgrades and services remotely via software upgrades.
Digital signage as a trendsetter
The digital signage market will serve as an indicator of where the AV industry is heading. Digital signage can transport content over the network and even the internet to a media player, which can then convert the file into digital video over HDMI. Kayye predicted that this technology, referred to as AV-over-IP, will become the new norm for the Pro AV industry.
The hotel meeting space
Hotel chains will begin incorporating co-working spaces à la rentable offices like WeWork and Spaces into their ballrooms, conference areas, and meeting rooms. If this catches on, these co-working spaces will require a host of AV solutions, which will provide a new market for the AV industry.
dvLED and the AV market’s foray into commercial signage solutions
The final prediction to appear in the ‘Krystal Ball’ was the rise of the Direct View LED display (dvLED). Kayye indicates that LED prices are down, many companies are selling LEDs, and more new technologies require LEDs to deliver the best performance possible.
Five Technologies Set to Change the AV Industry
After the ‘Krystal Ball’ introduction, Kayye pivoted to the five technologies he sees impacting the AV industry in a substantial way. Whether it be hot topics like AI and VR or technologies that were a long time coming like wireless integration, these technologies are poised to shape AV.
- AI in analytics, camera, and control scenarios. On the future of AI in the AV industry, Kayye noted, “AI will not be a separate thing in AV. AI will be integrated into everything and change the landscape of control systems forever.” Kayye was especially excited about the prospect of audio fencing, which is AI technology in a microphone that shields distracting outside noise and voices to produce a more defined sound.
- AV-over-IP with considerations of 1G to 10G, SDVoE, and IPMX standard. Just like in the ‘Krystal Ball,’ AV-over-IP is shaping up to be a significant technology that will redefine how AV is integrated and designed.
- Spatial audio. No longer limited to earbuds and headphones, spatial audio is also becoming incorporated into room design and UC spaces.
- Virtual tech, including XR, VR, and AR in expo, convention, and retail settings.
- The Cloud in AV. Control, monitor, and update software to your heart’s content all from the comfort of the Cloud.
Eight Products That Will Transform the AV Industry
In the final section of his keynote, Kayye named eight of the top products that he sees as having the capability to change the AV industry.
- Microsoft Teams Front Row. The pandemic showed us that hybrid work is the future, and Microsoft is making it more inclusive with the new Microsoft Teams Front Row. The meeting layout moves the gallery to the bottom of the screen for in-person participants, putting them at eye level with their virtual colleagues.
- AI-based pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras. The AI in these cameras has auto-tracking and auto-framing technology that will make livestreaming easier than ever.
- Image virtualization products that have AR, VR, and XR. Kayye spoke of the potential use of XR in stage tech, elaborating, “The same tech from virtual production will infiltrate AV design in a matter of years and allow us to build experiences that don’t require walls but workspaces everyone wants to be inside.”
- The media server and player with considerations for AV-over-IP.
- OLED and LED, especially for digital signage purposes.
- Cloud-based control. Instead of having a server or a CPU in a room, the connection is over the internet.
- Alleo’s collaboration and presentation platform builds upon the E4 Experience theme of meeting equity. Alleo honors the virtual meeting space and makes it more inclusive for workers in all settings by centralizing all features in a single platform that is collaborative, synchronized, and easy to navigate.
- Sony’s EDGE AI sensing technology, AITRIOS is a platform that performs edge AI analysis of data and images and outputs them to the cloud via metadata. AITRIOS boasts improved latency, reduced power consumption, and enhanced security.
Kayye’s keynote address was a great introduction to the E4 Experience, giving attendees a taste of what is to come in the AV industry for integrators and end users alike. Following the keynote, attendees were invited to check out the show floor, which featured innovative technologies and products that will undoubtedly be in AV’s future.