With more than 1,000 vendors exhibiting and 44,000 people attending, the InfoComm 2017 tradeshow was ground zero for anything and everything audiovisual. So, of course, ExhibitOne was at the annual event last month in Orlando.

Most people go to InfoComm to see what’s new. We are there to get a gauge on what’s next so our clients can be confident they are investing in the future, not a fad.

We wanted to share three major takeaways from the show along with a couple of things we thought were just downright cool.

LED

LED technology is the de facto standard for display technology and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This is driving down the cost of commercial-grade display solutions dramatically.

We’ve blogged about this before. The cost of hardware for videowalls is now half of what it was just a few years ago. LEDs are one of the major factors behind this price drop.

Beyond lower cost, LED technology also brings a new level of WOW. As an example, transparent videowalls. They’re awesome. Check out YIPLED and you will see what we mean.

4K

You may think High Definition (HD) is “good enough.” But, you would be wrong. Everything coming into the commercial AV market today is 4K.  Seriously. Everything.

While the change from HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) to 4K seems to have happened almost overnight, for many reasons, we think the 4K standard will be with us for a while.

With practically zero content coming to market with 4K resolution right now, standardizing on 4K may seem like a bit of a head-scratcher. But, consider this: virtually every computer/laptop manufactured today is pushing out 4K video resolution. In many AV solutions, these computers are the source for what is being put through the AV equipment. And, if that’s not happening today, it will tomorrow.

The consequence? Now, this is an extreme example, but we have had companies come to us that couldn’t figure out why the quality of their AV system seemed to be degrading. To make a long story short, they were driving greater than HD resolution video through VGA-era (analog) infrastructure. It doesn’t work well.

IoT

Virtually all AV components are getting smaller. Much smaller. And the Internet of Things is a major reason why.

IoT components have their own IP (Internet Protocol) address and often leverage cloud services, typically for processing and storage.

With much of the work being done in the cloud, component size can be dramatically reduced. Typically, commercial audiovisual solutions such as video conferencing might require a rack of AV components. That capability can now come from a single piece of hardware about the size of a hardcover book.

Not only is the size of components being reduced, but so is the cost, and so is the use of electricity.

Another example of IoT is with speakers. Every speaker can come with its own IP address. This gives you (if you want it) complete independent control of each and every speaker, whether in a room or an entire building…and no hardware component is required.

Implicit with these growing AV standards is having your audiovisual resources fully aligned with your IT infrastructure. For those who are not already there, now might be a good time to start moving in that direction. This year’s Infocomm tradeshow makes it clear. There’s no going back. No standing still. If you are going to invest in AV, you need to invest in the future.

By the way, if you didn’t think the transparent videowalls mentioned earlier were cool, then we have one word for you: holograms. Ever since R2-D2 projected a hologram of Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” this has been the holy grail.

It’s much more impressive when you see it for real on the tradeshow floor, but you can link to Kino-mo’s website or take a look at this YouTube video and you’ll see we’re practically there.

Is this an exciting industry or what?