February 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 55

Creston smart home connectivity available through Commercial Electronics. Digital Projection high-performance laser projectors available through Clark's Audio Visual Services. F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 | 31 Audio Visual Systems Audio visual systems transition to a new era of technology by ROBIN BRUNET P erhaps it's because we're all consumers at heart, but there's something undeniably compelling about any advancement in audio visual systems, whether they're intended for residential, hospitality, or even corporate venues. And given that such systems are inextricably linked to our wired world, the advancements are frequently spectacular. The most obvious examples of this pertain to home theatre. John Madison, general manager at Commercial Electronics, notes that no sooner has 4k definition become the gold standard of viewing mediums than major brands such as Sony are introducing 8k, which is already common in Japan. However, the advent of 8k is somewhat of a double-edged sword in that "you really don't get the benefit of this super-high definition unless the screen is super big, and prices currently jump from $18,000 for an 85-inch monitor to $93,000 for a 98-inch monitor," says Madison. "Given this, and until prices inevitably go down, I think we'll see 8k used predominantly in commercial set- tings such as in stadiums and for concerts." High definition aside, Madison thinks the wave of the future for home theatre is Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) technology for flat screens. "The image in a standard flat screen is lit from the edges, while the image on an OLED screen is lit from LEDs right across the screen, resulting in incredible image reproduction and great colour contrast," he explains. Commercial Electronics is increasingly catering to the "do-it-yourselfer" when it comes to smart home connectivity, although developing smart homes from the ground up in a custom service package is still an option. "If we didn't embrace the do-it-yourselfer we would become obsolete," says Madison. "Fortunately the off-the-shelf products available are steadily improving in quality. The biggest concern about these products – the ability for them to be hacked – is rapidly becoming less of an issue, with brands like Crestron having effective firewalls." Clark's Audio Visual, a leading Vancouver-based company in the event indus- try and audio visual production services, recently opened a new office in Greater Toronto in order to strengthen its relationship with current partners and create new business relationships across Eastern Canada. The expansion comes at a time when, according to Kevin Rowe, sales manager at Clark's, consolidation of AV companies is widespread and ongoing. Heighten Your Senses On the technological front, Rowe notes that, "Everyone seems to be convert- ing to laser projection systems, and for good reason. They have solid-state components and their cost of ownership has dropped dramatically. A simple optical engine is at the heart of these machines; they consume far less energy than standard projectors, and their resiliency is light years ahead of the old- school lamps that were notoriously short-lived and volatile." Clark's has invested heavily in laser projectors for event and other public use, "And our partners are Digital Projection," says Rowe, referring to the interna- tional manufacturer of ultra high-performance laser projectors and three-chip and single-chip DLP projection systems, the reference standard for demanding applications such as large-venue, live-event staging, education, medical and scientific research, command and control, digital cinema, commercial enter- tainment, and elite home cinema. Arguably, if there is a physical setting that pushes the envelope of what AV systems are capable of more than other settings, it's courthouses. That's the contention of Ken Lewis, president of Sight N Sound Design Inc., which in 2019 was busy outfitting several new courts – including a 12-courtroom facility in Abbotsford, B.C. – with a variety of advanced systems required to perform flaw- lessly and reliably: from cameras, voice enhancement, video conferencing and streaming to remote testimony facilities, touch panels, and annotation systems. "These are courts of law in which people's lives can be affected profoundly for the better or worse, so there's an incredible attention to detail in what we do as well as strict commissioning, and it's common for us to produce 300 or more drawings for every project we embark upon," Lewis reasons. "A lot of our courthouse work is also aimed at improving accessibility, and this requires a great deal of thought and planning. This corresponds with the trend of electronic docket displays and systems that improve the accessibility of the courthouse: instead of paper documents, information is now being sent to electronic displays throughout the courthouse with future capabilities of send- ing directly to devices such as smart phones." Sight N Sound's work is hardly confined to courts: it designs AV systems with the highest quality in boardrooms, meeting rooms, training centres, auditori- ums, and teaching institutions. "But I must confess to thoroughly enjoying the challenges of working with architects and other designers on projects such as the new Abbotsford courthouse, which will be completed late next year," says Lewis. "It's also important to keep in mind that pushing the audio visual envelope in this realm is beneficial in that some of the technological advancements will eventually bleed over into the commercial setting." LED technology continues to be the driver of many types of AV systems, especially in public venues where clarity is so crucial to the viewing experience. LED displays are capable of multimedia content including videos, images, and animation, and they can also be used as advertising boards, video walls, sta- dium screens, perimeter boards, and scoreboards. This versatility has led Global Market Insights Inc. to forecast that the outdoor LED display market will exceed $22.4 billion in North America by 2024. ClearLED is committed to delivering quality LED products and services that get clients noticed. Whether the need is for a custom transparent LED display or portable poster units, ClearLED can accommodate: its displays offer options for indoor and outdoor use and are available as flat, curved, or cylinder transparent LED units. Jin Fan, founder and CEO of ClearLED, says her company was busy in 2019 working with multiple clients (past clients include IMA X, McDonald's, the National Arts Centre, and many other powerhouse brands), and her company's 12:29 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Award - February 2020