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Unified Communications is a Central Focus at InfoComm 2019
If you were someone concerned with mainly getting the latest unified communications technology, InfoComm is a great option. Unified Communications was definitely a central focus at this year’s event. While the firms that exhibit there have been creating audio and video products for decades, getting these AV manufacturers to focus on Unified Communications has been a process.
Some audiovisual companies led the charge over ten years ago, while others have come along only after competitors. At InfoComm 2019, the show organizers literally put Unified Communications in the middle of the show floor. The UC area boasted companies like Zoom, Logitech, Poly, and others. That wasn’t the only place you’d find UC solutions.
Crestron has been one of the leading AV companies providing Unified Communications solutions. The AV manufacturer is one of the few that exhibits at both Enterprise Connect and InfoComm annually. At InfoComm, Crestron leveraged their partnership with Microsoft and Azure. The Crestron XiO Cloud is an initiative that has the company providing customers the ability to treat unified communications as IoT devices. XiO Cloud gives feedback and control through Azure.
Crestron Flex is the flagship UC line. These devices give companies the ability to leverage nearly any soft codec. Flex has native support for Microsoft Teams as well as Skype for Business. Crestron highlights seamless integration with WebEx and Zoom integration as well. The conferencing, phone, and wireless presentation devices provide a multitude of options for unified communications. With Crestron Flex, a company could include room scheduling, control, wireless presentation, digital signage, and networked audio and video.
Kramer released VIA, their wireless presentation system, over three years ago. The system has gone through several updates recently. Kramer brought more solutions to their “Kramer@Work” solutions. These devices provide control and automation, scheduling, and collaboration; both wired and wireless.
Harman/AMX continues to evolve the brand and offerings. Just like others, AMX focused on collaborative space. The AMX Acendo Core is a small appliance that gives users the ability to collaborate wirelessly. Acendo Core can be tied to Book or Vibe to provide users an entire ecosystem of UC connectivity. Acendo Vibe is a camera and speaker in one while Book ties to scheduling software to make booking and using a room quickly.
New Unified Communications Kids
HRT, or Huddle Room Technology, is a new company that aims to make using in-room technology easy. Their system gives users the ability to use the installed camera and audio technology in the room with a laptop wirelessly. With the HRT system, those wishing to use the unified communications technology in the place only need to connect to the appliance. Once connected the camera and microphones are fed to the laptop and can be used with whatever soft codec or collaboration software the user wants.
Stem Audio was born out of Phoenix Audio Technologies. Stem Audio saw the issue of poor audio quality in UC installs. The solution to these issues was to create both a design tool as well as high-quality audio technology for the unified communications space.
Heckler wasn’t so much a unique technology as it was an interesting problem solver. The system from Heckler allowed for the UC technology to live in the room without being seen. Their enclosures are stylish while at the same time, being functional. Heckler even has some that are designed to be ADA compliant.
InfoComm is an excellent mix of experience, technology, and the evolving unified communication space. Traditional audiovisual manufacturers see UC as a great opportunity. These AV companies have been creating quality AV, and UC, experiences for years. If you aren’t attending the yearly InfoComm show, you should at least keep up to date on the advancements coming from this space.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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Timothy Albright is Analyst in Residence at Futurum Research where he covers the Collaboration, Unified Communication and ProAV space. Tim is also the founder of AVNation, an audiovisual industry B2B media firm. Taking the data, ideas, and objectives of clients and industry leaders and turning them into easily digestible content is where Timothy has lived and worked for the last twenty years. His career has lead him into broadcast television and radio, education, programming, digital media production, and has been teaching and producing podcasts since 2006. Over the last ten years, Timothy has been focused on researching where business communication is and where it is going. This includes working with education, healthcare, and Fortune 1000 companies leverage their existing infrastructure to help their employees and customers communicate more effectively and efficiently. In addition to hosting and producing a weekly AV and UC news program, he has contributed to several industry-leading publications. Timothy has lead industry discussions around the globe and is a highly sought-after moderator for his ability to bring the real-world uses into conversations and panel discussions.