Since its inception in 2004, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) has become synonymous with product debuts and thought leadership sessions that showcase the cutting edge of technological innovation. From the opening keynote address of its 2020 edition, which focused on how to promote a culture of innovation in the workplace, to the range of solutions presented by more than 1,300 exhibitors on the trade show floor, it is clear that the pro-AV industry is set for another dynamic year ahead. AV Integration’s David Cornwell reports from the showroom floor.
INNOVATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
One clearly observable trend from the show was the continued growth and expansion of AV over IP technologies, as well as innovative control solutions to integrate these technologies into efficient business practices. Hundreds of companies brought new solutions for this horizontal to the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre in 2020, with a number of notable highlights.
Crestron debuted its new DMPS Lite simple AV room solutions at ISE 2020. Designed to give integrators a plug-and-play solution to grow businesses in smaller spaces, Crestron’s DMPS products underscore the value of flexibility. As Rupert Denoon, Crestron regional director South Africa, told AV Integration at the event: “The Crestron stand at ISE 2020 is designed to show people that we’re constantly working, developing and evolving. If you look around the stand, that’s the story that’s going on in the background all the time – giving the customer solutions that are flexible enough to change and evolve as their business does the same.”
Similarly, Kramer unveiled both the VIA GO² and VIA Campus² solutions – products aimed at raising the connectivity standard in huddle spaces, small meeting rooms and learning environments. Yael Chicheportiche, the senior product manager of Kramer’s VIA range of technologies, said: “[VIA] works right out of the box, and everyone can use it. With the multitude of huddle spaces and other small meeting spaces, IT departments do not have the resources for dealing with a flood of help desk service tickets or calls. The VIA GO² delivers on the promise of powerful and reliable wireless collaboration.”
Other highlights included a comprehensive range of AvoIP and KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) Technologies from ATEN; the launch of Barco Insights from Barco – the first Internet of Things (IoT) platform for projectors, featuring live dashboards that can be accessed remotely; and an engaging Conferencing Experience demo presented by QSC. This demo also highlighted the latest changes to the company’s Q-SYS Platform, which – in the words of product manager Martin Barbour – “continues to evolve as AV integration and IT grow closer together.”
Audio technology also saw its fair share of exciting advancements at ISE 2020. Not only did Shure release their new IntelliMix DSP technology – smart audio processing software designed to bring unprecedented clarity to meeting rooms – but Sennheiser unveiled the latest in their ‘campus-wide’ range of IT-friendly audio solutions, and Bose focused on its Installed Sound Expansion family of professional audio products.
COLLABORATION A DOMINANT THEME
As Bruce Genricks, CEO of Electrosonic SA, comments: “I noticed an emphasis on certain themes that carried through into the products at ISE 2020. One of these was definitely collaboration – everyone was talking about it, and everyone seemed to be showcasing it on their stands in one form or another. This obviously touches a wide range of technologies: even within video conferencing, for example, collaboration can include connecting different meeting sites and it can also refer to participation within the same room, through sharing documents, providing annotations and so forth. This trend towards collaboration technologies seems to be expanding in line with the continued growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models.”
As an example of products that seem to be evolving along thetheme of collaboration, Genricks points out the latest-generation Auto-Tracking and PTZ camera from Adena. As he explains: “These operate using a lanyard system; the speaker simply wears the lanyard around their neck and the camera tracks them perfectly. These are ideal for collaboration scenarios, as well as presentation environments such as lectures and training demonstrations. These cameras can also be paired with the Adena Media Station, which allows you to record your video and audio content for later use or even live stream it over the internet.”
Based on his ISE observations, Genricks further noted a growing preference in the market for “one device that does it all. Some manufacturers are still producing devises that connect to a display – but a lot of companies are now building a wide set of functionalities into the display itself.”
Along with all-in-one devices such as the popular X3 from MAXHUB and the FLiP2 from Samsung, the all-new HubVC from T1V was launched to an enthusiastic response – showing that this technology still has room for growth as it continues to penetrate the education and corporate AV markets. Other companies, such as DisplayNote – who released the latest version of its Launcher meeting software – bucked the trend of ‘all-in-one’ solutions by presenting highly specialised meeting room technologies. Speaking to AV Integration at the show, DisplayNote COO Ed Morgan told AV Integration in an interview: “We are driven by the principle of doing one thing in the pro-AV space, and doing it better than anyone else. We often ask ourselves, ‘Where’s the ramp in this situation?’ – we are always looking for ways to streamline the meetings process and make sure that instant usability is the key feature of our product.”
Other key news from the collaboration sector came in the form of Biamp’s acquisition of Huddle Room Technology (HRT), including solutions that are designed to create smart rooms that exist as permanent virtual meeting places. Joe Andrulis, executive vice president of corporate development at Biamp, said in an interview: “There are both specific applications and entire verticals where we expect to see this technology have a big impact.”
DIGITAL SIGNAGE IN FOCUS
As announced by Avixa at ISE 2020, digital signage is expected to become the largest pro AV sector by 2024, eclipsing both conferencing and collaboration. As a result, content management software is evolving at a rate of knots, resulting in digital experience platforms (DXPs) that give greater control over content by tailoring it to the time of day, device, or even the demographic information of individual passers-by.
The trade show featured a vibrant video wall collaboration by Matrox and BrightSign, while leading IP video and digital signage solutions provider Exterity unveiled a new4K Media Player at the show, as well as their ArtioFlow workflow app. Exterity CEO Colin Farquhar acknowledged the great potential of this AV market sector: “The digital signage market remains buoyant as more businesses – ranging from international banks to world-renowned hotel brands – strive to meet the growing expectations of tech-savvy consumers in an increasingly connected world.”
Meanwhile, as Neil Colquhoun, vice president CISMEA and Professional Displays, Epson Europe, told us: “At Epson, we spent a lot of time in the lead up to ISE thinking about how to convey our messages to our customers, and we wanted to show our stand in a different light.”
This approach resulted in the creation of three separate “highlight areas” on the bustling Epson stand. The first, a partnership with Igloo, presented a “virtual reality cave” powered by EB-L12000Q projectors and ELPLX02 lenses; the second presented Epson’s Experiential Future research, where visitors could experience simulations and augmented reality overlays in the context of retail shopping; and the third showcased the company’s Moverio smart glasses, which are being tipped to revolutionise the tourism industry by providing enhanced visitor experiences. “This approach focused on highlighting the quality of our technologies in a solutions-based environment,” Colquhoun comments, “and we’re delighted with the response we’ve had.”
Other standout exhibitions were delivered by Digital Projection, who provided the first public showing of the company’s Satellite Modular Laser System, and by Christie, who used projection mapping and augmented reality to highlight two additions to its range of 3DLP Crimson laser projector models, the WU31 and HD31.
“With flexible and freeform LED, but also with projection mapping, the creative possibilities are virtually limitless,” commented Michel Buchner from creative technology provider, Nexxt Technology. “The only problem is that the majority of designers and architects are not aware of this yet. Once they think beyond the frame and more about animated wallpaper, patterns, and textures blended as elements in their designs we expect a large rise in the use of aesthetic media with projection mapping and flexible LED.”