In the three years (well, almost) since the last Integrated Systems Asia exhibition took place in Singapore, something very significant has happened to the market for professional AV in this region. I can vividly remember walking round that show at the Suntec convention centre, thinking how promising much of the technology on display looked— but then, ultimately, reflecting that this was all it was: promise.
Sure, there was projection. Sure, there were displays. Sure, there was audio, and control, and distribution, and processing, and furniture, and mounts, and all the other components we expect to see in modern AV projects. But for many of the exhibitors— and, I suspect, visitors— they were exactly that: individual components that had strength as single products, but which lacked a strong bond to unite them.
So what has changed since then?
I think Richard Tan (see The Way They See It, page 12), the man who will host our industry at InfoComm Asia in Hong Kong in November,
sums it up pretty well when he describes the main driver for future regional AV growth using a single word: infrastructure. Airport lounges, mass transit terminals, train stations, and the shopping malls, catering outlets, and other amenities that surround them—these are the spaces that AV will fill in the months and years to come.
And that is what has changed since ISA in 2005. Back then, much of the AV industry’s focus (no pun intended) was still on the presentation room. Many of our businesses seemed to rely on PowerPoint to drive them and, while it was possible to use control and distribution in a sophisticated way to enhance the presentation experience (and enable companies to use their AV resources more efficiently), it was equally possible to ‘bang and hang’ a few components onto an office wall, and then walk away.
It’s still possible to do that today, of course. But our end customers have become both more sophisticated and more demanding. They need their images to look at least as good as—if not better than—the Blu-Ray demo they just saw at their local consumer electronics store. They need audio which is not just intelligible but enjoyable. They need assurances about cost of ownership. Above all, perhaps, they need rugged, reliable, and rapid connectivity not just within their own facility, but to their enterprise’s other offices, and beyond to those of their partners and customers.
These are needs that simply can’t be met by taking a piecemeal approach to AV systems design. The change that has taken place since 2005 has seen manufacturers entering into more partnerships with one another, opening more distribution channels closer to their export markets,
and aiming their R&D efforts towards products that offer interoperability and compatibility with the world of IP. Distributors and dealers, in their turn, are becoming realworld solutions providers, rather than commodity brokers. And as our industry continues to broaden its reach into new applications, so the need for a wider skill set will become ever greater.
Where does the launch of SCN Asia fit into this picture? Well, as a non-American who began reading Systems Contractor News in earnest some seven or eight years ago, I can only say that this was the magazine that taught me there was life beyond the presentation room. More than any other AV industry publication, it was SCN that championed such novel ideas (in those days, anyway) as high-performance audio, ruggedized screens for digital signage, remote asset management, and detailed, objective consulting.
SCN also, for my money (again, no pun intended), was the first magazine to seriously consider audio and video as a business, rather than as a hobby. There is no shortage of passion for performance in AV projects in these pages, but there is also the realization that unless the customer can see a significant ROI, there is no project. Pure and simple.
So, to my way of thinking, there couldn’t be a better time to be taking the SCN approach to the emerging AV markets of Asia. In a very real sense, the market is moving rapidly beyond presentation. It deserves a magazine that believes in doing the same.
Enjoy our first issue!