Goodbye Summer, Hello Technology

in Editor's Note

Labor day has passed, that means two things: no more wearing white and the launch of trade show season. I spent some good relaxation time with my family this summer, and had a lot of opportunities to chat with road crews as they swung through Washington, D.C.—but the long summer days also gave me the time to prepare for my busiest (and favorite) season of the year.

First up is the PLASA show in London. We’ve already seen some sneak peaks at what will be debuting at the show, and we’ll have the full rundown for you next month in the annual PLASA Show Report.

Closer to home, though—literally and figuratively—is my highlight of the fall season, the Parnelli Awards. It is a night of celebrating exceptional individuals in our field and their hard work throughout the past year. This year the Parnelli Awards ceremony happens Saturday, October 20, at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, during the weekend of LDI. I am especially excited to be a part of this year’s festivities honoring such individuals as Joe Branam for his ingenuity and dedication to the field of rigging. You can read more about his life’s work and why Mr. Branam truly deserves the Visionary award on page 38.

The Parnelli Awards also recognize those regional companies that go above and beyond to support their local productions and events. You can check out the Regional Winners of the Hometown Heroes on page 42.

You, our readers have nominated several new products for the Indispensable Technology, or “IT” Awards, and you have the chance to choose the winners on the ballot this year. You can check out the ballot on page 41 and vote online for your choice in all the categories until Sept. 30. Then join us at the Parnelli Awards ceremony to help honor and applaud these hardworking individuals and companies.

But plan on getting into Vegas early. The Parnelli Golf Tournament takes place Thursday, October 18. The tournament is a great opportunity to rub elbows with some of the movers and shakers of the industry. And I may as well warn you upfront: If you hear “FORE!” it will most likely be me and my horrible slice.

You can learn more the Parnelli Awards, as well as buy tickets to the ceremony and the golf tournament at

In addition to awards, the other reason to visit trade shows is all the new gear that’s announced—and the gear that’s not quite ready for production, but quietly shown in private demo rooms. It’s well known that the entertainment industry is not the main driver behind a lot of the technologies we appropriate. (Diodes are huge for us—but we are not a main concern of the diode manufacturers.) So sometimes it feels like our industry is a little slow to adopt new technology. But times, my friend, are changing. Technologies are emerging that could help drive our productivity and product development rocketing forward. These options may not be available now, or even in the next year, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

Speech Recognition

For years, speech recognition has been used for dictating speech into text. I tried it in the past, but never used it on a consistent basis as it seemed clunky and more work than pounding the keyboard. Yet Apple may have found the sweet spot with their Siri voice recognition software found in the iPhone and their Voice-to-Type feature in OSX Mountain Lion. With all of this, could speech commands become something that we could find in future console designs? I get goosebumps thinking about it. Rather than barking a command over a headset or looking down at the desk trying to type in command, I can keep my head up and speak to the desk and watch the change happen on stage.

Screenless Displays

What about taking displays completely off the desk? Google has demonstrated an interesting proof of concept project, Google Goggles. They look like fancy glasses, but can display augmented reality over the world on the lenses in a very personal heads-up display, to help you navigate the world or search for helpful information.

You can take that idea even further with one my favorite Sci-Fi gadgets, virtual reality contact lenses. Pop in a pair of contacts that display information right in your eye. Researchers have been playing with this idea for a number of years, and they may even be a reality by 2014.

These types of heads up display systems could help keep a programmer’s or LD’s eyes on stage watching changes happen while still having the vital console information in sight.

Wireless Power Distro

I am channeling one of the greatest inventors of all time here: Nikola Tesla. A man well beyond his time, he proved that transmitting power wirelessly is possible. Maybe not feasible now, but definitely possible. Think about it, being in a remote location, setting up a power receiver and getting all the power you need without the portable generator. Burning Man just got more interesting with light shows in the middle of the desert!


These new technologies are a development cycle—or even a dream—away. But who knows? We may be honoring a visionary or awarding an IT award for one of these technologies at a future Parnelli Awards sooner than you think. We live and work in exciting times—and while I love relaxing at the beach in summer, I’m happy to find out what’s next this fall.

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