The first impression one gets when entering the RAI Amsterdam, where the 2013 Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) Show takes place January 29-31, is cool. Not cool as in chilly, because the temperatures outside are much warmer this year, but cool as in what we do in AV is actually pretty dazzling when the technology is employed properly. Throughout the entrance halls there are video walls, large-screen LED displays, and giant blended projection, all coordinated to display sleek and spacey images. The effect is total immersion in high-tech atmosphere. In short, it looks like Europe. High design is the norm here, and that tends to elevate AV and boost the novelty factor.
The event will be the picture of success again as it enters its 10th year. It attracted a record-setting 41,000 attendees in 2012, and pre-registration is up beyond that number for 2013. Every year, more U.S. based integrators and consultants are making the trip to ISE, contributing to the 25 percent of new attendees this year. Additionally, there are 200 new exhibitors at the show.
But there's more at play than just high-tech displays and attendance numbers. "ISE is a show of ideas," observed Dan Goldstein, director of marketing and communications for ISE, on the day before the show launched. Indeed, in watching the booth setup across the 12 halls of the massive and sprawling RAI, this is evident. Exhibits here tend to reflect a broader trend of discussing "solutions" rather than hardware. It seems that AV is becoming more image conscious.
Conversations at the show tend to center on business, as the European market remains strong, despite economic woes. There's plenty of demand for AV. Extremely high levels of technical specifications tend to go into projects here, as standards for life safety and environmental impact dictate advanced implementation. Additionally, technologies such as digital signage tend to flourish on "human scale" pedestrian-friendly streets. Europeans walk everywhere, as every diet book will tell you, and that means they are more open to interactive digital signage. And the museum exhibits everywhere are simply stunning, probably, as Goldstein noted, because each major city here is located within close proximity to one another, boosting the competition for tourist dollars. You have to make your museum or "experience" memorable to keep the customers coming.
All of these sociological and cultural implications lead to demand for high-tech integration, which creates quite an industrious buzz on the show floor. The productive conversations are proving irresistible to new exhibitors staking their claim on the ever-expanding show floor this year, including a little company called Cisco Systems. Paul Depperschmidt, Cisco global business development manager for the AV integration market, spoke of the end solutions that drive Cisco's exhibit. It's about the finished product, and how to build business around it.
But to guarantee the best finished product in this age of convergence between IT and AV, Depperschmidt said, systems need to be built to standards. InfoComm's new AV Systems Performance Verification Checklist is an important step, and one that consultants and integrators should look into. "We need this standard," he said. "This will help you stand your ground with the IT person." Additionally, the AQAV standards efforts of Mario Maltese are helping to shape the business.
That said, I'll provide a brief preview of product announcements at the show. Stay tuned for more updates as events warrant!
Crown's DriveCore Install (DCi) Series.
Crown Audio has announced the successor to its CTs Series. The new DriveCore Install (DCi) Series analog stereo and multichannel amplifiers incorporate a host of improvements including Harman’s exclusive DriveCore technology. Twelve models in the DCi Series are available, ranging from 300 watts to 600 watts (into 4 and 8 ohms and 70Vrms and 100Vrms). All amplifiers are just 2U rack spaces high, to conserve valuable installation space.
One Systems is premiering its new CROSSFIELD ARRAY-2. The CFA-2 delivers a unique combination of high acoustic output capability and sound quality. The CFA-2 is a 55-degree x 30-degree vertical array that features a rotatable high-frequency waveguide to achieve optimum coverage regardless of orientation. Its transducer compliment consists of two large-format compression drivers coupled to a single horn and four bandwidth-optimized 10-inch woofers arranged in a 2 x 2 configuration.
Powersoft has expanded its Ottocanali series, with the addition of three new high-performance 8-channel power amplifiers for fixed installations. Ottocanali 4K4, Ottocanali 8K4 and Ottocanali 12K4 have been designed to work at low or high impedance, can run at 2 ohms as a standard operational parameter and can power 70V and 100V distributed lines without the need for external transformers. Powersoft’s unique approach to Class D amplification gives the amplifiers high output power—up to 12000W over eight channels for the largest model. Every amplifier in this series has two universal switch mode power supplies with PFC (Power Factor Correction) each independently powering a set of four channels.
Roland Systems Group
Roland debuted the next-generation product in the V-4 and V-8 lineup of Roland live performance video mixers. The Roland V-4EX advances the Roland V-4 four channel video mixer by incorporating HDMI inputs/outputs, USB streaming, HDCP support, built-in touch multi-viewer, and audio embedding. These features are added to the strong primary feature set including built-in effects and unique user interface. The V-4EX’s sleek and compact design lends itself to portable applications as well as permanent installations when size and space are considerations.