• Tuesday , 19 January 2021

AV Manufacturer/ Developer of the Year

Disguise One

Officially launched six months ago as a response to the halt on live events around the world, disguise’s xR technology brings to life compelling visual experiences in virtual production, allowing brands and artists to connect with remote audiences like never before. xR empowers the world’s leading brands, artists and production houses to blend virtual and physical worlds together using Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Combining disguise’s 3D visualisation-based software and high-performance robust hardware, xR seamlessly integrates an array of technologies including camera tracking and real-time content engines to extend a small studio space into an unlimited virtual world.

  • xR has the unique benefit of creating a limitless environment, even if constrained to a small studio space or with socially distanced restrictions in place. The screens within the space only need to be as large as the performance area. The virtual set extension places the actors in virtual environments larger than the space available, opening up worlds of opportunity and creating more compelling content to increase audience engagement. The workplace may be smaller, but the end result displays an endless space of limitless opportunities.
  • disguise xR lets you deliver a virtual environment, which is visible both on screen and on set, making visualisation a constant part of the experience. This allows designers to make better-informed creative decisions earlier in the process, and communicate ideas and final work in a clear, compelling manner.
  • By using LED screens or projection surfaces in the space, xR allows presenters to be absorbed into the virtual environment where they can see the entire set and even objects added into it, giving directors the opportunity to capture raw emotion.
  • The integration of disguise’s camera calibration feature allows for calibration of the camera and lens in a matter of minutes, rather than days. Pre-visualising camera shots, without having to build the stage first, enables better coordination between set and camera departments, and virtual environments can be created and iterated on the fly.
  • The capabilities of xR are utilised in ways far beyond initial blue sky thinking, powering nearly 100 groundbreaking productions since its launch earlier this year. This includes broadcast productions like the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, America’s Got Talent and the US Open, live music performances from artists like Katy Perry, Billie Eilish and Alicia Keys, corporate events for enterprise businesses like SAP and Under Armour, on set virtual production for the Mandalorian and Avatar sequels.

Testimonials and References

“disguise xR has helped us to deliver a new paradigm of working, and ways to create incredible virtual performances to promote new music around the world without even stepping on an aeroplane.” – JT Rooney, xR Content Producer, Silent Partners Studio

“Recently we were able to offer our xR stage in our Miami studio featuring the latest xR technology powered by disguise. Artists are able to walk into our studio knowing that the final product will be taken care of at one place, all done in-house. disguise has always been part of our creative workflow allowing us to create visual results that are astounding and performances are unforgettable.” – Rodrigo Proal, Co-founder, Darmah

“There is a new level of interaction that takes place when connecting all core elements of the disguise xR workflow to drive production.” Scott Millar Technical Director, XR Studios See how xR is defining the new era of live production: https://vimeo.com/434079944/7f43b83fe9

 

Clevertouch

Clevertouch is the original touchscreen manufacturer. Our touchscreens embrace the full collaborative and unified communications needs of our clients. We should win the Manufacturer of the Year award due to our unrivalled desire to bring unique and innovative technology to market and provide unique and easy-to-use solutions that genuinely support our end users. We didn’t furlough any of our colleagues in 2020 and everyone received an increase in salary. We are on track for the same revenues as 2019 with greater profits as our global business increases rapidly. At Clevertouch, we pride ourselves on our diversity and our ability to help our customers, end-users, employees, and reduce our impact on the environment. Our growth is a tribute to our forward-thinking, openness to new ideas and building solutions based on listening to what the end-user needs.

  • Innovation: Clevertouch doesn’t believe our duties end at making great products; we always look at how the end-user will use them and how we can support them to do that. One of these initiatives is ‘Cleverstore’ a free, dedicated educational App store where all apps (even those from familiar developers with big-name licenses) have had all advertising and in-app purchases removed, allowing educators to use them in the classroom with confidence. The range of Apps is growing rapidly, and we have also committed to providing resources for educators to use alongside the apps to complement and enhance the learning experience. This offering is unique. We know our products and solutions have support student engagement. We have allowed teachers to work beyond the classroom using our collaboration tools and software, and we have made it simpler for teachers to teach. Teaching can walk into a classroom, our product will fire up, and they can click one icon to download their class program—no faffing with laptops or USB sticks. Our solutions are fast, engaging and straightforward to use.
  • Impact of the organisation Diversity and Equality: Clevertouch, over the past 12 months, has been working hard to address the diversity of our business. We are very open about our support of the LGBTQ+ community, and we believe that a balanced and supported workforce is a better workforce. With this in mind, Clevertouch has started a recruitment programme which we hope will allow us to bring in new talent from ethnic and minority groups. Our new diversity and equality policy has been created with the support of Geoffrey O Williams Ltd. This consultancy focuses on Inclusion and Diversity, and we’ve just finished our D&I 2020 campaign – www.clevertouch.com/DandIWe have recently recruited from outside the AV sector. These new employees are helping shape our business, bringing with them new ideas, valuable insights and ways of working.
  • Training Programmes: Clevertouch is encouraging its employees to gain qualifications through AVIXA. We are proud to say that we now have over 70% of our employees who are CTS certified. All our employees attend our Clevertouch academy training, which is also available to our customers through our online training portal. Our training is now run in conjunction with CTS and once completed goes towards CTS renewals. There are Five-course, but we have plans to double this over the next three to four months. We also encourage and support our employees to study for relevant qualifications, offering financial support when appropriate. In the last 12 months, we have funded several additional courses for six employees.
  • Workplace culture: Clevertouch, at its core, is a happy family business, and we treat all our employees as part of our family. We are always open to new ideas and ready to listen. We are a nurturing company, We care about mental health, wellbeing and equality, and we genuinely value our employees. This is why, during the Covid-19 outbreak, we did not furlough staff, believing that it might lead to anxiety among the team. Our aim was for them to be ‘safe and supported’. Those employees who couldn’t work from home easily because of the role or because of childcare were asked what could work for them. Our ‘pandemic’ campaigns were the result of these conversations. Our sales teams turned from product demonstrators to ‘kids’ TV presenters’, making short YouTube videos at home with their own families on how to teach and entertain children during lockdown – Learn at Home. The campaign allowed us to keep our employees happy and to give parents at home who were suddenly faced with home-schooling a little extra help.
  • Green credentials: Clevertouch has run for many years a recycling scheme for our technology. In this scheme, we refurbish and upcycle older screens that can be purchased at a reduced rate, meaning schools with limited budgets, and pupils from lower-income families can have access to our technology. We will also remove any old technology we take out and send for recycling. We are adding two new initiatives in October 2020 that will pave the way to being carbon neutral by 2025. The first will provide templates so that end-users can create furniture from our packaging and the second will be the planting of new trees for each Clevertouch panel purchased throughout Q4 in 2020. If this is successful, we plan to continue the project.

Testimonials and References

“The Clevertouch UX Pro’s open platform approach allowed us to seamlessly integrated the units with our existing technology and software without compromising the security needs of our organisation. We have been blown away but the features and how quickly employees took to using the touchscreens. Ideas seem to flow more as a result, and there has been a definite change in how teams collaborate,” Mark Lewis, Senior Project Manager, Network Rail.

“We have been an advocate of the Clevertouch brand since its inception, and there are many reasons why we have worked with them for so many years. Clevertouch has consistently stayed ahead of the market with ground-breaking innovations, be it their superb app store or easy to use collaboration, Clevertouch read where the market is going not where it currently is. Added to this, the products exceptional build quality, and they have, in my opinion, the best interactive product available in the UK. However, it’s not all about the product, and the team behind Clevertouch are what makes the whole package work. Passionate, friendly and dedicated, the team at Clevertouch genuinely care about their business and their customers. Clevertouch would certainly be a worthy winner for Manufacturer of the year,” Darren Clayman, Managing Director, IDNS.

“We use Clevertouch in our school; they are so much better than interactive whiteboards with projectors. You can have more than one child writing on them at the same time; they don’t need calibrating, the software has loads of great functions too. The features of Clevertouch are what make it so great. I recommend!” Charlotte Stone, Deputy Head. Handcross Primary School.

“I came across some of your Learn at Home videos after a friend sent me a link on WhatsApp, as a primary school teacher with a five-year-old of my own I would like to say thank you! Not many technology companies would take the time to put together material to help support parents in such difficult times. I will be passing the link to your YouTube channel on to others and look forward to watching more of your videos with my son who you have helped me entertain this week,” Laura Ellis, Teacher, Abbey Junior School.

 

Shure

For 95 years, Shure has been at the forefront of audio technology innovation and continues to set the worldwide standard for excellence in the industry. From microphones and wireless systems, to in-ear monitors and conferencing systems as well as various wired and wireless listening products for the everyday consumer, the global audio equipment manufacturer is widely known for its quality, performance and durability. Shure is committed to developing audio solutions that perform flawlessly in today’s boardrooms, conference rooms, universities, and meeting rooms, making it virtually effortless to connect.

  • The first audio processing software for Windows 10 PCs that is fully optimized for use with Shure networked system microphones was launched this year. IntelliMix® Room is a ground-breaking innovation in digital signal processing (DSP) for AV conferencing. IntelliMix Room is a software-based DSP that requires minimal customer setup or additional special hardware, which reduces the costs and footprint required to deploy premium AV conferencing. It can be deployed to in-room Windows 10 PCs and meeting control devices that are already in-place to run popular software-based AV conferencing services, bringing premium audio to video conference calls.
  • In legislatures, international conferences or executive boardrooms, products like Microflex® Complete help keep meetings on course and provide powerful features like voting, agenda, interpretation, and identity verification. Shure understands that last-minute meetings are a fact of life. The Company developed Microflex Complete Wireless that can be set up quickly — even by staff members with minimal training — making it possible to go “from cart to conference” in minutes.
  • While pro audio and live events will always be Shure’s bread-and-butter, the Company is continuing to support new markets. In the last 18 months, Shure has set its sights on amplifying its work to support theater and film. The focus on these verticals were driven by innovation and upgrades to key products in the Company’s portfolio to ensure flawless audio performance no matter if customers were charged with performing on stage or delivering the nightly news. Take for example American Utopia by David Byrne. During its run on Broadway, the production relied heavily on Shure gear to ensure exceptional sound no matter what. The engineers depended on Shure’s new subminiature microphone, TwinPlex, which captures sound perfectly, to ensure premium audio quality even as performers moved around the stage as well as changed instruments throughout the show. Due to the chains on set and the constant movement from the musicians, capturing the sound seemed impossible for engineers. However, Shure’s ADX micro bodypack transmitters made it possible to produce high-quality audio in a durable package. Plus, engineers were able to have complete control of their environment allowing them to adjust remotely as needed. This is just the beginning as Shure continues to drive value for sound engineers and performers in theatre/film.
  • As the availability of usable wireless spectrum continues to evaporate, the transition to digital wireless is inevitable. Staying on top of industry trends and needs enabled Shure to lead the pro audio industry’s transition to digital technology. Shure’s reliable wireless systems enable broadcasters, theater, corporate facilities and educational institutions to navigate and operate in even the most crowded RF environments by enabling the ability to fit more channels into the condensed airspace for optimal performance.
  • But beyond developing standout products and services, Shure leads the industry when it comes to how it trains, serves, and supports its partners and employees. For example, Shure recently expanded its webinar schedule to provide more frequent content given the global pandemic that we are all facing. While the Shure Audio Institute (SAI) typically provides monthly training sessions, programming is now delivered weekly, with three times the audience tuning in for recent training sessions versus previous webinars. Shure recognizes the importance of providing audio professionals with technical insights and training.

Testimonials and References

The Professional UK body, the Institute of Acoustics (IOA), installed Shure Microflex Advance MXA910 microphone to complement an innovative Voice Lift system at the organization’s Milton Keynes headquarters. Students undertaking courses now benefit from crystal clear speech across the space, while students collaborating online via distance learning are delivered the same audio as their classroom counterparts, with the system raising the quality of the lecture captured content. An exclusive interview with Chief Executive Allan Chesney and senior Shure executives on the deployment of the Voice System at IOA can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80b8cX07eDA

Before the NBA Finals, Scotiabank Arena in Toronto looked to install an innovative new technology into the massive scoreboard hanging over the playing surface to better capture the sounds of the game. Shure’s Microflex®Advance™MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone — a microphone originally designed for office applications —was mounted into the scoreboard. The beauty of this type of microphone is that its recording patterns can be customized with software and remotely adjusted to fit the specific needs of the venue. Two Shure MXA 910s are now installed on the bottom of the giant scoreboard hanging over the playing surface.

For nearly four weeks last summer, the Swiss town of Vevey on Lake Geneva came alive when one million visitors participated in the 12th Winegrowers’ Festival. The Fête des Vignerons takes place once in a generation and pays homage to century old traditions of wine-growing. To ensure a flawless performance, the audio team selected the Shure Axient Digital wireless system and PSM 1000 in-ear monitoring system to power the 20,000-seat venue. A total of 324 channels of Axient Digital and 40 channels of PSM 1000 were used, making it one of the largest displays of wireless systems planned and realized at a single venue. “Not many systems have been deployed at events of this magnitude,” said Audio Consulting AG’s Martin Reich, Head of Audio at Fête des Vignerons. “Due to the extremely challenging brief, we decided on Shure and Axient Digital.” To guarantee safe and efficient transmission for this number of wireless and communication signals, the production team decided to use IP-based signal pathways and a glass fibre network. “This was another reason to use Axient Digital. Dante integration is so well designed we were able to use the networked systems pretty much as plug-and-play components,” commented Reich.”

 

CTOUCH

CTOUCH have taken vast steps in putting the environmental footprint and circularity of touchscreens a key topic on the agenda of the AV industry. This goes way beyond the recycling of product packaging as we believe sustainability is much more than recycling. CTOUCH, conducted research on the CO2 impact of the manufacturing and use of interactive flat panel displays (IFPD). This research gave many new insights and has led us to initiate several new, innovative projects that will benefit the environment, as well as schools, universities and companies that are planning to invest in new technology. A true win-win concept, of which CTOUCH is very proud. Several of the key initiatives are stated in the bullet points below. More information on CTOUCH circularity vision can be found here: https://ctouch.eu/sustainability

 

Promethean Limited

At a time when schools have been faced with more challenges and pressure than ever before, Promethean has drawn on its education pedigree and understanding of this market’s needs to support schools and teachers with maintaining learning continuity and driving forward progress. Remaining fully operational while much of the AV industry ground to a halt, Promethean responded with empathy and innovation. This agility is best exemplified by the global education technology company not only retaining its position as the K-12 market leader for interactive flat panel displays but going on to secure growth against the backdrop of a declining market.

  • When national lockdown came into force virtually overnight, 100% of staff remained fully operational, enabling Promethean to maintain its high standards of service – from 24/7 customer support to regular blogs on how to navigate the crisis.
  • With more than 3,500 subscribers, during school closures Promethean utilised its industry leading blog to disseminate practical advice and resources to educators – including an ActivInspire Screen Recorder Guide which offered advice on how to use existing ActivPanel lesson resources to support students learning at home, without increasing workload.
  • In response to the changing needs of schools, Promethean evolved its demonstration approach to offer increased flexibility and choice – launching ‘Experience the Elements’ which provides access to virtual, remote and on-site demonstrations.
  • For the past five years, Promethean has plotted edtech trends, reporting on cutting edge insights when it comes to UKI schools’ technology use. Attracting over 2,000 respondents this year, the Promethean State of Technology in Education report is the only survey of its kind that can provide access to five years of valuable data and insights into the impact of COVID.
  • When 2020 saw the needs of schools temporarily shifted, Promethean rapidly mobilised investment to ensure that teachers could use the ActivPanel to support students in class and remotely, leading to the launch of a new Screen Share App, Panel Management and Cloud Connect.

Testimonials and References

“Our ICT strategy is built around several technology partners that can help elevate our delivery. As a trust, we wanted to select an established education technology partner that we could forge a long-term relationship with, for financial stability but also access to industry leading hardware and knowledge that align with our strategy for the future. There is no denying that the ActivPanel is a world class system that is transforming teaching and learning across Cidari – but moreover, we are benefiting from a fantastic relationship with Promethean as an active edtech provider that is going above and beyond to add value through wider support,” Peter Ashworth, Chief Executive of Cidari Multi Academy Trust.