My visit to Epson‘s booth (4127) this afternoon continued what appears increasingly to be a highlight trend for me at InfoComm 09: education. Epson is making a big push with brand new products largely focused on that market. I saw the new, very bright PowerLite Pro Z8000WUNL—possibly the brightest projector ever from Epson, targeted at auditoriums and conference halls. Epson officials, however, told me that the demo of the projector overhead at their booth has also drawn interest from theater folk this week, including guys from the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, in Epson’s California back yard.
But most everything else I saw had a strong school focus. The AP-60 sound enhancement system was among the most innovative I saw, not only because of its potential in a classroom setting, but also because the well-known projector manufacturer is offering up its very first sound system. The AP-60 targets multimedia K-12 rooms and has a speaker system designed to give 360 degrees of sound, incorporated into the infrastructure of a ceiling projector mounting system. It also has an infrared pendant mic so that teachers’ voices can be heard in the back of lecture halls even when/if there is no visual presentation going on. Epson officials reinforced the message I’ve been hearing that classroom audio clarity, according to various studies, is the most important factor in a quality learning experience involving technology.
But perhaps coolest of all, due to its logical design, was Epson’s PowerLite Presenter—a modern attempt to do away with the legendary AV cart once and for all. The 2500-lumen WXGA projector is an all-in-one box that incorporates an integrated DVD player, surround sound, microphone input, closed captioning, and USB plug-and-play connectivity in a single unit.
Its simplicity in a school setting struck me as innovative and useful, particularly after some of the AV horrors I have witnessed over the years in my own children’s schools.