To Russia With Love - AvNetwork.com

To Russia With Love

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The inaugural three-day Integrated Systems Russia, a tradeshow that InfoComm and CEDIA helped develop, attracted 7,200 attendees.MOSCOW, RUSSIA-Amid scenes that would have been unthinkable barely 15 years ago, a high-level delegation from InfoComm International led a strong U.S. presence at the inaugural Integrated Systems Russia exhibition in Moscow last month. As a joint supporting association (with CEDIA) of Integrated Systems Events, InfoComm has played a key role in the development of this new event, which is organized in conjunction with Russian tradeshow company MidExpo and co-located with the latter's Hi-Tech Building show.

After a one-day conference that attracted over 200 delegates and a three-day tradeshow that pulled in 7,200 attendees, there were smiles all round-and not just among the InfoComm contingent of Randall Lemke (executive director), Terry Friesenborg (senior VP of international development), Randy Pagnan (chair), and Jay Rogina (secretary/treasurer). American-based exhibitors such as Extron, Chief Manufacturing, Da-Lite Screen Company, and Jupiter Systems were all delighted with the quality and quantity of traffic inside Moscow's atmospheric Gostiny Dvor convention center.

"Being in Moscow for the first Integrated Systems Russia, seeing the show and hearing the positive comments of exhibitors and attendees alike, was a rewarding conclusion to a year of hard work on the part of InfoComm and our partners in ISE and MidExpo," Friesenborg told SCN.

"There is no substitution for direct involvement in a region when it comes to better understanding the market and how we can best serve the industry here. It was a pleasure to be involved with this event both professionally and personally."

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Randy Pagnan, InfoComm chair.
During the pre-show conference, titled 'Professional AudioVisual Solutions in Commercial and Residential Applications', speaker after speaker offered reasons for U.S.-based manufacturers to be cheerful about the potential of the Russian market for pro-AV and systems integration. Russia is already in the Top 5 European markets for projection equipment, and AV market growth is conservatively estimated at 30-35 percent per year. Some sectors, such as digital signage, are growing even faster.

Command and control, videoconferencing, and corporate presentation are among the other big growth applications, with end customers ranging from government agencies to hotels, shopping malls, sports arenas, and transportation hubs.

Geographically, what was once a very Moscow-centric market appears to have become much more dispersed in the past couple of years. Visitors to IS Russia came from all parts of the country, as well as other CIS states such as Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. As Da-Lite's Matt Teevan put it:

"These integrators might come from cities that you would struggle to pinpoint on a map, but that's part of what is so exciting about being in a dynamic export market like this. You are constantly being surprised about the potential that is out there, and where it comes from."

Many exhibitors, including AMX, Chief, Extron, Jupiter, and Crestron, have already rebooked for next year's IS Russia, which will move to the larger Crocus convention center and is due to take place from October 30 to November 1, 2008.

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