The South African Communications Industry Association (SACIA) held its annual ISE Survivors’ Breakfast at Blandford Manor in northern Johannesburg on 25 February 2015. Attended by many AV integration industry stalwarts plus a reassuring crowd of new faces, the event was moderated by SACIA executive director Kevan Jones.

Following a fantastically catered breakfast, Jones introduced a panel of notable show attendees, including Matrix Sound’s Trevor Peters, Questek’s George van Gils and Digital Fabric’s Gavin Olivier to give their impression of this year’s show and highlight products or technologies that caught their eye.

Peters highlighted that there wasn’t any one ground-breaking technology identified but noted that the divide between IT and AV is getting increasingly smaller as IT infiltrates AV. “The acceptance of the IT industry into the AV industry is becoming advanced and mainstream. AV companies are realising the need to hire permanent IT staff to keep up with the trend,’ he said.

Another thing Peters noted was that more sound consoles offer wireless and WiFi audio, with many products connecting via Bluetooth. “I noted some high quality wireless audio transmitters, which saves running cables in tricky venues and are quick and easy to set up.’

Olivier said that what he noticed is that manufacturers are grabbing bigger pieces of the pie by acquiring other companies. “Exhibitors weren’t talking about products, they were talking about solutions – bigger bundles of solutions,’ he explains. New products that caught Olivier’s eye included an extraordinary whiteboard with a matt surface that doesn’t reflect back: “This has been long overdue in the industry!’
He also pointed out that many products run with Dante, HDBaseT and very little with AVG, and that LED technology is racing ahead: “Projectors will still be around for a while because of the running costs of LED, but there’s no doubt LED technology is getting more advanced every year.’

Van Gils ended the panel discussion with his view on 3D and 4k, explaining that 4k is pushing 3D out as it’s not really required anymore: “3D is dead. 4k gives a 3D perception because it has depth,’ he stated bluntly. He also made some reference to the different projectors he noticed – the fact that there are still quite a few various kinds available on the market, including laser projection and phosphor laser projection.

Undoubtedly the biggest topic of interest and debate among the attendees and panellists was IT integration in to the AV industry, and how the AV industry has embraced it and turned it into opportunities for their businesses, by manufacturers acquiring IT companies and integrators offering solutions that include IT in their offerings.