Whats in Store - New and Future Products


What's next? June 2003

The audiovisual industry is always looking at new technologies. Not at all surprising, given that the business is all about deploying technologies in the pursuit of better (read: more effective) communications. We've set this bit of bandwidth aside to bring you up-to-speed about some of the cool stuff we're examining for possible use.

As many of you are already aware, SHOWORKS is an authorized dealer for TOA Electronics products, and that we stock their line of conference microphones, often referred to as push-to-talk microphones, for rent. The TOA system is dependable and easy to use. There are other good systems on the market as well.

Perfect? Well, anymore, everyone wants everything to be wireless. Given that so many tools already use wireless technologies, it's not terribly surprising that wireless conference mics are making their way to market.

We have been examining the new system from Beyerdynamic. The system uses a small footprint transceiver, a tad larger than a wired unit. Multiple units can be placed in the manner typical of any conference system, but without the wires. The sound quality is quite good, and its push-to-talk operation is already familiar for users. The only pressing downside at this point is cost, which is substantially higher than for the wired technology.

We're still evaluating the system both for rental and sales, so stay tuned.

One of Rex's long time passions has been context-sensitive messaging. This passion has manifested itself in such programs as our message-on-hold services, with the ability to change messages by time or other factors. Now there is a new system on the market from Sennheiser for use in display environments, such as museums.

It's a complex system that combines technologies in a very useful fashion, and still makes it very easy for the target user. Equipment consists of a centralized computer system for creating and broadcasting messages, strategically placed antennas, individual receiver / players for each visitor, and electronic "triggers" placed at displays. The way it works is this: the operator creates a series of messages related to the various exhibits, which are broadcast into the venue by way of the antennas. Individual visitors are given a receiver / player to use during their visit, which receives the current messages every time the visitor comes near an antenna. Then, as the visitor approaches an exhibit, an electronic trigger located at the exhibit signals the receiver / player to play back the recorded information related to that exhibit.

Messages can be updated anytime, and the version heard by the visitor is automatically updated the next time that they pass an antenna. In addition to exhibit information, any other message can be sent as well, including the ability to override the system to alert visitors to a lecture about to start, emergencies, or to warn that visiting hours are coming to an end. In the event that there are lectures and the like, the system also doubles as a hearing assistance system.

All in all, it's real cool stuff. Check back another day for updates.