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Go green in the boardroom



Although the latest in audio visual equipment may bend the budget, a well designed system will reduce energy consumption and improve audience attendance, says STEFAN MAYER, MD at Corporate AV Integration.

A good audio-visual (AV) system is far more than a great way to improve your presentations and keep your audience attentive. A well-designed AV system will reduce your energy consumption – saving your company money and contributing to making your office a green environment. That might sound like a big ask but the latest intelligent  building- and- room control systems can do just that.

“Today it’s not enough to offer solutions such as dimming lights and automatically turning off a screen or a projector,” says Stefan Mayer, Managing Director at Corporate AV Integration. “We need to embrace a future where AV and environmental systems are tightly integrated to intelligently communicate with each other and react to varying conditions to optimise energy and cost savings. Done properly, it’s not only affordable, it’s also intelligent.”

Vendors such as Crestron and AMX use algorithms to adjust their devices in response to variables such as natural light, temperature and room usage. For example, a projector and air conditioning in a meeting room can be primed to turn on 10 minutes ahead of a scheduled meeting. Another easy win comes through using motion sensors to switch off air conditioning and lights when nobody is in a room, again cutting down on energy consumption.

Another intelligent feature is the ability to integrate window blinds into the system and programme them to change according to the position of the sun –  using sunlight to warm and light your rooms, reducing heating and lighting bills. Ambient light sensors will measure the amount of natural light and adjust the window shades appropriately. The system can supplement natural light with interior lights to achieve the ideal ambience for a presentation or videoconference.

Sensors can be cleverly placed around the entire building too, so that lights are dimmed in areas close to the windows and brightened away from the windows to intelligently save electricity and give employees the optimal lighting conditions.

“The core function of a good AV system is to make meetings more efficient and interesting, of course, although statistics show otherwise. Studies have found that 25-30% of all meetings are not efficient due to poor or malfunctioning technologies like video conferencing systems and projectors or poor boardroom conditions,” Mayer says.

Troubleshooting, when a fault – or a human error – crops up disrupts the meeting  often not allowing for important issues to be addressed. Automated and simplistic videoconferencing systems is an important way in which AV systems contribute to a more efficient workforce, eliminating time, money and fuel spent on travelling and also contributing to improving the green status of your office. That’s far from the only way in which AV equipment can assist a company go green. An intelligent AV strategy can save money and help to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through reduced energy consumption.

A conference room without automation technology is almost certainly wasting energy, says Mayer. Employees tend to leave equipment on after they leave the room, especially if multiple devices are controlled by different remotes. Automation technology controls all the displays, projectors, audio and video equipment, electronic voting systems, lighting, temperature and blinds from a single, easy to use touch panel. Should the unit not be turned off, it can be pre-programmed to shut down at a certain time or at the end of the day or based on movement within the room.

A report by Frost & Sullivan into Bright Green Buildings reported that AV technology has evolved from simple, piecemeal presentation tools into integrated systems through the convergence of AV and IT. In intelligent and green buildings where comfort, energy efficiency and asset management are key, an intelligent conference room plays a big part through green features like networked projectors and LCD displays, videoconferencing, and intelligent lighting and window shades.

The technologies behind these systems are complex, but Mayer says suppliers like Corporate AV Integration focus on making sure the end user is greeted with simplicity and operator-friendly interfaces.

An AV specialist can design the most cost effective solution and create a boardroom that looks good, works efficiently and boosts your green credentials.

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Future of TV in 4 letters



Television technology has come a long way, transforming not just the way we consume our entertainment, but also the formats in which media is broadcasted or streamed. Today, TVs can do a lot more than just display our favourite shows, says DEAN DAFFUE, GTM manager at LG Electronics SA.

Today, consumers demand TVs that are not just slim, but so thin that they are like paintings on walls. TVs have become an element of décor that can seamlessly integrate into the design of a home, and render the clearest, sharpest images, with the deepest blacks and crispest whites without compromising on resolution. Home cinema is not just about the picture anymore. Consumers are eyeing TVs that would be able to learn usage patterns and automatically suggest entertainment based on individual preferences. The switch from LCD to LED transformed TV design, allowing for lighter, thinner and easily wall-mountable frames, housing even more sophisticated display tech. The picture quality also dramatically improved with new contrast ratios rendering more vivid colours, deeper blacks and crisper whites. But they were still more functional than aesthetic.

As larger segments of the population embraced internet connectivity and streaming content, the TV became smarter, integrating content-streaming apps for a more seamless viewing experience. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) upgraded their infrastructures to accommodate the growth in streaming services, TV manufacturers also upgraded their TVs’ ability to tap into different types of content.

In the future, TVs with built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to learn usage patterns and automatically switch modes based on user preference, and even take instructions from multiple users as TVs become increasingly connected to digital home assistant systems.

Six years on, and we see the evolution that continues to lead in the OLED TV market, LG is racking up awards and accolades for its innovative OLED TVs. This pioneering effort in the design and manufacturing of OLED TVs has culminated in complete dominance of the OLED market, leaving the pinnacle challenge of innovation in display technology, redefining the TV viewing experience, and its place in your home. Great efforts have been made on OLED technology being affordable and accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a better-quality television experience than before. No TV is a greater testament to this than last year’s award-winning LG SIGNATURE W7 – also known as wallpaper.

As South Africans are continuously looking for ‘an experience that amazes’, OLED TVs are considered by industry experts to offer the most advanced display technology. As each pixel on the display can be individually switched on and off, OLED offers enhanced picture quality without image degradation. This results in the highest quality image rendering with the purest blacks. With its myriad advantages, OLED panels have become the most desired display technology today and it has become a leading force in making this technology even more ubiquitous and accessible.

With support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, LG OLED TV is the first of its kind to offer a premium cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It also features Active HDR technology, which optimises HDR picture quality scene-by-scene, rendering brighter scenes and greater shadow detail for a life-like viewing experience.

Despite the market dominance, the development of newer, more innovative technologies does not stop. This year a staggering number of innovative display technologies were unveiled, such as future display technology like roll-able OLED screens and large format curved displays that will become the future of wall art.

AI is also set to make an appearance. There is a unique and personalised AI services built on the deep learning-based DeepThinQ technology, in cooperation with other AI service providers such as Google, giving AI TVs the ability to automatically adjust the settings to Game Mode, or Sports Mode based on whether a user is currently playing Xbox or watching a football match. Ultimately, AI TV will provide care and comfort to users’ mind and body by learning more about its users’ viewing habits.

What does this all mean for consumers? With continued innovation and development of display technologies, as well as advanced design, AI, premium audio integration and support for the latest resolutions, colour and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards, the TV will no longer be a display, but a complete home viewing experience. This is what new ranges of OLED TVs will bring to fruition in the coming months, making it the ideal time to upgrade your TV to the ultimate home entertainment experience.

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Game of screens



When it comes to the ultimate home entertainment experience, what you watch is just as important as how you watch it. With streaming services like Netflix keeping people glued to their screens people are paying a lot more attention to the overall home viewing experience.

Flat panel TV screens have long been favoured as the most cost-efficient and appropriate option for everyday home entertainment. However, more and more people are investing in projectors and fully kitted-out home theatre systems to enhance the experience, as proven by the 28% global market growth of home-used projectors over the past five years. However, choosing between the myriad of options on the market today can be challenging.

Money matters

When it comes to affordability, TVs are certainly becoming more accessible than ever. Where plasma screens were once the talk of the town, and features like HD quality and larger screen size only added more zeroes to the price, today’s LED and OLED models are far more accessible and affordable for everyone – despite offering even more technologically advanced features, which is the biggest reason why people generally opt for TVs.

However, projectors have become more affordable too, and are just as easy to use. The cutting-edge models available now are a far cry from the clunky ones with poor display quality of the previous tech era. For instance, the full HD Epson TW-600 series offers everything you would expect from high-end projectors – three-times brighter, crystal clear display thanks to 3LCD technology, built-in Wi-Fi, 11 years of lamp life and a great warranty offer – at a much more attractive price point compared to other projectors on the market. Unlike TVs, however, the projectors offer an immersive, real-life experience that TVs simply can’t match.

Screen size and quality

While the cost is almost always the first factor that people consider when purchasing a home entertainment system, factors like quality and screen size are often a close second and third.

On the one hand, LED TVs are great all-rounders for sport, movies, normal TV and gaming, and offer pretty much all the average person needs in terms of a home viewing experience that ranges from adequate to impressive. There are a variety of LED TV models currently on the market that offer great resolutions and good contrast ratios, but TV screens are still limited in terms of size, which impacts the overall viewing experience.

Projectors offer all the benefits of an LED TV with the added benefit of a huge, movie-theatre like screen to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Projectors are also capable of projecting high definition content onto a surface of anywhere from 30 inches right up to 300 inches, allowing you to choose your screen size depending on your requirements.

In terms of quality, 3LCD technology, as offered by world-leading technology brand Epson, is the most popular projector technology available on the market making up more than 69% of all projectors sold worldwide. This technology offers a clearer, crisper image, showing more detail while allowing for smoother motion on-screen and more vibrant, differentiated colours.

Choosing the best screen option for your dream home theatre setup is a decision that’s best made after careful consideration of the options that are currently available. And while the average flat panel TV screen display has certainly improved over the years in terms of technology and affordability, projection technology is cutting edge, and these nifty devices are now more accessible and desirable than ever.

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