Atlona Ships New HDBaseT and HDMI PTZ Cameras

July 6, 2020

Two new models enhance connectivity options in meeting spaces, classrooms, and other collaborative and presentation AV environments

SAN JOSE, California, May 28, 2020 – Atlona expands the HDVS-CAM family of enterprise-grade PTZ cameras. Available immediately, Atlona’s two new camera models are purpose-built for HDBaseT and HDMI interfacing, providing integrators with flexible options to build systems for conferencing and other applications inside meeting spaces, training rooms and classrooms, among other AV environments.

The Atlona HDVS-CAM family is built for video conferencing systems, and is also ideal for instructional applications such as lecture capture and distance learning. The two new models offer a similar feature set, including professional-quality imaging for video resolutions up to 1080p @ 60 Hz, fast and accurate auto-focusing, a quick pan-and-tilt mechanism with minimal noise, and availability in black or white versions. Both cameras also offer effective upgrades to existing codecs in legacy video conferencing systems, delivering high-quality imaging performance and ease of installation.

The two cameras differ most on the connectivity side, with each providing a unique value proposition:

HDMI and USB

The AT-HDVS-CAM-HDMI features an HDMI output plus a USB 2.0 interface for video and camera control, with simultaneous video output available over both interfaces to support conferencing and lecture capture, or a legacy hardware codec alongside modern software video conferencing. This camera adds value within multi-usage applications for live presentation, recording, streaming, and conferencing. Software video conferencing capability is enabled via USB connectionto a PC, with PTZ camera control available from popular soft codec and UC clients such as Microsoft® Teams®, Zoom™, BlueJeans™, Slack™, Cisco® WebEx®, and GoToMeeting®.

Integrators working with Atlona’s Omega™ Series of switchers and extenders can also seamlessly integrate with these systems, and develop a complete conferencing system that includes AV and USB extension.

HDBaseT

The AT-HDVS-CAM-HDBT features an HDBaseT output for extending video, power and camera control over distances up to 330 feet (100 meters), and enables simple, clean connectivity over category network cabling. This camera simplifiesremote interfacing with HDBaseT switchers and extenders. Remote camera powering over HDBaseT further streamlines integration, with the freedom to install the camera anywhere without the need for AC power.

Whereas the HDMI model is ideal for smaller to medium sized meeting spaces and classrooms, the AT-HDVS-CAM-HDBT provides customers with an easily extendable solution for larger meeting spaces, lecture halls, and auditoriums.

About Atlona
Atlona, a Panduit company, is a leading global manufacturer of AV over IP distribution, connectivity, and control solutions. The company designs and engineers innovative, award-winning products for a diverse range of residential and commercial AV and IT markets. Backed by an award-winning 10-year warranty, Atlona’s products are developed to enable our customers’ ability to connect and collaborate with simplicity. More information about Atlona is available at atlona.com.

About Panduit
Global connectivity leader Panduit Corp. creates innovative electrical and network infrastructure solutions for applications across the enterprise. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill. and operating in 112 worldwide locations, Panduit’s technology leadership and robust ecosystem help support, sustain, and empower business growth in a connected world. panduit.com

Hitachi HDTV Cameras Help Bring Top-Tier Athletics Productions to National Audiences for University of North Alabama

July 6, 2020

Ease of use, quality and reliability of Z-HD5000 cameras enable Athletics department to step up their production game

Woodbury, NY, May 27, 2020 — Spanning a 130-acre campus in historic Florence, Alabama, the University of North Alabama (UNA) – the state’s oldest public four-year university – hosts over 8,000 students and is home to the NCAA Division I North Alabama Lions. When the university’s Athletics department needed to upgrade and expand its video production capabilities in preparation for ESPN+ streaming broadcasts, it purchased four Z-HD5000 HDTV cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) to meet its goals.

UNA’s 14 renowned collegiate athletic programs have collected more than 60 conference championships, dozens of number-one national rankings and seven national titles. After competing in NCAA Division II for over 40 years, the school accepted an invitation from the Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference to transition to Division I. With the move came the requirement for the school to begin broadcasting their games on ESPN+, which necessitated a significant overhaul of the Athletics department’s production operations.

“For our previous streaming initiative, the now-discontinued Lion Vision, we used just a single basic camera,” said Eddy Forsythe, athletics broadcast/video coordinator at UNA. “We needed to upgrade all of our production equipment, from the cameras to the switcher and graphics system to properly represent our Athletics program on EPSN+.”

The department commissioned the build of a mobile production trailer, which spends most of its time in the basketball and volleyball gymnasium – known as Flowers Hall – but moves to other venues as needed. For the cameras, Forsythe looked first to his successful past experiences with Hitachi Kokusai.

“I had used Hitachi cameras many times throughout my 33 years in the broadcast industry before coming to UNA,” he explained. “They were always very good products, and very durable. I knew I could count on Hitachi cameras whenever I needed them. I just fire a Hitachi camera up, and it works.”

UNA’s four Z-HD5000 cameras were first used on a November 2018 women’s volleyball game, and are now used to cover baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball matches. In addition to ESPN+ broadcasts, the cameras feed large video boards within Flowers Hall to drive fan engagement, as well as recording footage for highlight reels and melts that are sent to the ASUN conference office.

Forsythe praises the Z-HD5000s’ exceptional ease of use as valuable, particularly with his frequently changing crew of student volunteers. “Most of our volunteers are not in a related program, but just kids who want to learn the business,” he explained. “The learning curve on these cameras is next to nothing. I can take a new student volunteer, and within five to ten minutes I can turn them into a camera operator.”

Further aiding that ease are the cameras’ consistency and minimal maintenance requirements. “Once you sent them up, you don’t need to keep adjusting them; just turn them on, and they’re ready to go,” described Forsythe. “I don’t even remember the last time I had to adjust the white balance except when we move them between venues.”

The visual quality enabled by the Z-HD5000s has also lived up to Forsythe’s high expectations, while the cameras’ ability to adapt to varied lighting conditions has proven valuable for the university’s wide range of sports and venues. “We’re very pleased with the quality of our resulting productions – it’s second to none,” he said. “Of course, with cameras, the picture quality always comes back to lighting. For a daylight football game or in our LED-lit gym, the quality is just beautiful, and the Hitachi cameras handle low-light situations such as evening softball games much better than our previous cameras.”

Overall, the department’s equipment upgrade and new streaming outlet have elevated both their production results and the university’s public exposure. “Using the Hitachi cameras in our trailer has improved the quality of our productions, while broadcasting our games on ESPN+ has given us nationwide recognition,” summarized Forsythe. “We’ve always had a very good athletics program here at the University of North Alabama, but when we put our product out there on ESPN+, now we’ve got folks all across the country watching. That’s pretty sweet, and the Hitachi cameras are a key part of it.”

About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. Fiscal 2018 (ended March 31, 2019) sales totaled 85,932 million Yen. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.

Visix Launches Voice-Activated Digital Signage for Any Display

July 6, 2020

ATLANTA, GA – May 26, 2020 – Visix, Inc. has released version 1.32 of their AxisTV Signage Suite digital signage software with a new Voice Recognizer Widget that turns any screen into a hands-free interactive sign.

AxisTV Signage Suite users can drag and drop the new Voice Recognizer Widget (VRW) onto any layout, then set custom parameters that instruct the sign what to listen for and how to respond to requests. It can be used on single displays, banks of screens and video walls in any environment.

“Clients no longer have to depend on touchscreens for interactivity, which is especially important in this time of concern about germ transmission,” says Jill Perardi, creative services manager for Visix. “Just as people got used to using touchscreens because of smartphones, they’re now starting to expect a voice user interface like they use with their virtual assistants at home. Now anyone with digital signage can offer that experience without having to invest in expensive touchscreens or custom programming. They canjust use the software and displays they already have.”

Real-world application of the VRW allows viewers to walk up to any display, ask for the material they want, and then immediatelysee that content on screen. AxisTV Signage Suite users simply design the various content options, employ the VRW, enter speech triggers, and configure those triggers to launch the appropriate content. Keywords can launch different slides within a layout, orsimply hide or show things on the same slide.

A microphone is always listening for the triggers set in the software by the client, for example “show me”. When it detects a trigger, it then processes the next spoken request (“show me the weather”). It identifies keywords in questions and phrases (“weather”), and shows the requested content on screen.

The programming behind Visix’s voice-activated signage isn’t as complicated as the natural language processing used by Siri, Alexa or other virtual assistants. Instead, it takes advantage of the built-in speech recognition engine for Windows 10 that’s already in the Visix media player, and doesn’t involve any programmatic adjustments. As such, it doesn’t require any additional fees, internet connectivity, artificial intelligence or other third-party products to work.

Watch a video of the Voice Recognizer Widget in action at: https://www.visix.com/new-products/.

Visix does not sell displays or microphones, but can recommend local integration partners who will suggest microphone models and placement for the client’s environment.

Visix also has an award-winning creative services team who can design layouts using the VRW for clients, as well as custominteractive content, like wayfinding and directories, that pair a voice user interface with touchscreens. Clients who want more sophisticated, multi-language options can request custom-programmed solutions that support cloud-based, natural language platforms.

To request the latest update and read release notes for AxisTV Signage Suite, go to https://www.visix.com/tech-support/visix-software-updates/. For more information about AxisTV Signage Suite, visit https://www.visix.com/products/digital-signage-software/.

About Visix

Visix, Inc. offers a robust suite of digital signage software, content designs and meeting room signs for any organization wanting to engage, excite, and inform their audiences. Our products work separately or together, are competitively priced and scalable, and have powerful interactivity and data integration features for a unified, enterprise signage solution. Our award-winning service and support teams consistently rank the highest in customer satisfaction for fast, professional responses and solutions. Learn more about Visix digital signage products and services at www.visix.com.

Xilica® Appoints Techni+Contact as New Canadian Distributor

July 6, 2020

Toronto, May 26, 2020 — Xilica®, a global leader in digital signal processing technology for AV and installed sound, has appointed Techni+Contact Canada as its sole distribution partner for the Canadian market.

Headquartered in Montreal with multiple Canadian offices, Techni+Contact has served Canada’s professional AV business community for more than 40 years. The company has built a strong reputation as a value-added reseller for manufacturers, and a trusted provider of customized AV over IP solutions backed by personalized service and dedicated support.

Xilica joins an impressive range of Techni+Contact-represented brands, including AMX, Ecler, Utelogy, Spinetix and WolfVision. The addition of Xilica’s modular DSP solutions strengthens Techni+Contact’s value proposition as a supplier of complete conferencing solutions for key business verticals. Techni-Contact works closely with a growing network of Canadian AV dealers, resellers, systems integrators, AV project consultants, and installers, and performs particularly strongly in corporate, education and government projects. The company expects to see growing interest from live event venues seeking large-format systems, as well as hospitality businesses seeking flexible installed solutions for restaurants and bars.

“Xilica is the first professional DSP manufacturer in the Techni-Contact portfolio, and fills an important gap in our product line,” said Julie Legault, President of Techni+Contact. “Xilica is aligned with our core verticals, and will help us propose and configure fully integrated solutions that are more competitive and on target with what our customers seek. Their clever, compact, and modular designs are an especially strong fit for the AV over IP ecosystem, while providing end users with the freedom of complete AV device control across the network,” Legault added.

Legault adds that Xilica’s assorted modules, field-swappable cards, and expansion devices remove the need to invest in large stockpiles of inventory for various products. “Depending on the cards we mix within a Xilica DSP, we can quickly configure whatever functionality our customers need,” she said. “This results in operational efficiency that saves us money, inventory, and warehouse costs, and makes the entire value chain work better for our customers.”

Techni+Contact will be aggressive and proactive in its market outreach to raise brand awareness and visibility of Xilica’s high-quality products, according to Legault. She also looks forward to contributing to online Xilica Certified™ training events and webinars in the near future, and expects to host Xilica brand launch events – as well as in-person Xilica Preferred™ advanced training events – after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. Xilica Certified™ and Xilica Preferred™ events are the two tracks associated with Xilica’s recently-announced Xilica Genius Global Training Program.

“Techni+Contact is a well-respected organization that is laser-focused on our core verticals, and equipped with the specialism and expertise that our shared customers demand,” said Mark Ullrich, Sr. Manager, Application Sales for Xilica. “With multiple locations throughout Canada, advanced logistics facilities and an ability to consistently stock Xilica products with quick delivery, we are very fortunate to have Techni+Contact join our global partner network. We look forward to working closely with a highly talented and dedicated team that is uniquely qualified to represent our growing brand in Canada.”

About Xilica

Xilica® is an award-winning manufacturer of innovative, next-generation digital signal processing solutions for AV/ITcontrol and command applications including conference, corporate, hospitality and leisure, retail and transportation. From its headquarters in Toronto, Canada, Xilica sells and supports products worldwide in over 75 countries, gaining rapid acknowledgement for its all-modular, ultra-small-format and high-performance product ranges that solve critical business challenges.

www.xilica.com

CP Communications Integrates Multipurpose Studio and Control Room for IRONMAN®

July 6, 2020

Cost-effective facility enables remote IP production and live OTT streaming of global triathlon and marathon events

St. Petersburg, Florida, May 4, 2020CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, hascompleted the systems integration of a custom-designed streaming media studio and control room that enables The IRONMAN® Group—a Tampa-based sports event management company—to deliver live coverage of its branded multisport and marathon events over-the-top (OTT) via its website and Facebook Watch.

Owned by the Chinese Wanda Sports Group, The IRONMAN® Group produces more than 235 race events across 55 countries worldwide. These include the iconic IRONMAN®  Triathlon, which combines swimming, biking, and running into a single long-distance contest; the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, and more.

“With this new multipurpose facility, IRONMAN can now produce live video coverage of events remotely over IP, saving travel and crew costs for a faster ROI,” said Kurt Heitmann, CEO, CP Communications. “Bonded cellular—one of our specialties—facilitates video signal backhaul and distribution, bringing IRONMAN over the finish line as a provider of premium sports content.”

Besides bonded cellular for IP-based transmission, the design leverages Dante® to configure, manage, and route broadcast-quality audio over IP; and NDI®, an IP-based video networking platform that extends the HD-SDI workflow. These technologies form a powerful yet-cost-effective studio and control room to manage remote productions via IP, and simultaneously produce live studio segments for event commentary, news, and Skype call-ins. A digital media room supports production of live stream video podcasts and on-demand training videos for IRONMAN athletes.

Unique Technical Challenges

IRONMAN had already purchased some equipment before engaging CP Communications, including a 4-input NewTek TriCaster Mini video switcher and an analog Mackie audio board. They required a more sophisticated technical infrastructure to accomplish their production goals and CP expanded IRONMAN’s capabilities to maximize those capital investments. Within two months and on a tight budget, CPharnessed the combined experience and technical expertise of their designers, engineers and systems integrators, who built-out the studio and control room in two adjoining offices at IRONMAN’s Tampa headquarters.

The control room now includes the following gear to enhance the production workflow:

  • An external 20×20 expansion router to expand the switcher’s video inputs from 4 to 20
  • A Dante license was added to the TriCaster Mini to accommodate Dante-compliant audio
  • A Yamaha TF-1 digital audio mixer with Dante sound card
  • A Dante-enabled Unity intercom system, wireless mics, and in-ear monitors
  • A Wowza Clearcaster for streaming to online portals like Facebook
  • Mobile Viewpoint 2K4 playout servers and Terralink bonded cellular encoders

The 20-square foot studio design added the following capabilities:

  • A News Desk Production set
  • A greenscreen stage for immersive virtual sets and backdrops
  • A NewTek TalkShow for bringing Skype callers into the live program
  • Two Sony PXW-100 (1080i) cameras with added zoom and focus control, fluid head tripods, Dante communications, and NDI-based teleprompters
  • A DMX lighting control system to control color temperatures and lighting set-ups

“We designed this studio/control room to enable IRONMAN to record training videos with virtual sets and to acquire, produce and stream its own high-value sports content,” Heitmann said. “We also paid special attention to the quality and consistency of the lighting for virtual sets, and keeping video and audio in sync with NTP clocking. The complete solution now ensure a flawless, broadcast-quality presentationfor every IRONMAN event.”

About CP Communications

For more than three decades, CP Communications has provided high-quality, cost-effective live event production solutions to major broadcasters, sports leagues and teams, and event and production companies. Our solutions include access to experienced professionals, state of the art equipment, and innovative technologies and techniques for wireless audio & video content acquisition, transport and delivery. Our culture of innovation, coupled with the highest quality assurance standards and passion for customer service, promote collaboration with our clients to determine the best custom solution for each live event.

Service Highlights

Writing and Media Placement

Writing and Media Placement

We are storytellers that understand how to connect with an audience. From newsworthy press releases to technical installation features to provocative thought leadership columns, we will bring your message to a broader audience through strategic, exclusive articles placements and global media distribution.

Product Launch Planning

Product Launch Planning

We are strategic thinkers that will build integrated plans to spread the word on your important product innovations. We have the experts to manage your press announcements, trade show visibility and social media impact - among other initiatives - to make a lasting impact on your brands.

Media Interviews

Media Interviews

We consistently communicate with key editors and journalists that cover broadcast, commercial AV and other industries we work in around the world. We will position you as expert thought leaders to secure interviews, Q&As, tradeshow appointments, and other opportunities that keep you in touch with the media - and visible to your customers and the industry at large.