by Kirsten Nelson
Amsterdam, The Netherlands--It's official. Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2012 surpassed the 40,000 attendees mark. As of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, one day before the show officially closed, total attendance stood at 40,146. This is compared to a total attendance of 34,870 after all three days in 2011.
Conversations on the show floor definitely reflected the fact that ISE is a fantastic place to do business and launch products. The atmosphere at the Rai Convention Center was abuzz with earnest exploration of new opportunities. And that's not just a bunch of buzzwords. This truly was a great show. I ran out of pages in my analog notebook long before my meetings were finished, and I was hastily scrawling notes in margins every time I learned of a new trend or story idea.
Even in the bitter cold of February in Amsterdam, a busy ISE "is a reflection of the longevity and the buoyancy of this business," said Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events (ISE), in a press conference on the opening day of ISE, January 31. He noted that business is definitely increasing in various sectors, and exhibitors confirmed that indeed there was much business to be had across Europe, from the troubled Euro zone eastward to suddenly quite vibrant Turkey and Romania.
As far as trends are concerned, KVM is everywhere, fiber is gaining ground, loudspeakers are as smart as Jeopardy contestants, blending and warping are twisting the shape of every projected image, and in general, "there's a big push for pixels," said the ever-observant Adam Neale, director of 7th Sense Design, a provider of media servers for curved projection applications which worked on the crazy video projection mapping with Digital Projection projectors for Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular last December.
Collaboration is still a key buzzword, and one that is founded in increased sharing of content in conjunction with videoconferencing. One knock-on effect of this popular use of AV technology is that "cloud-based computing will mean a lot more to our industry going forward—a lot more than it has already," noted Anders Lokke, marketing director at projectiondesign.
So what did the exhibitor have to say about the show? Plenty of good things.
"This show has become really important," said Brady Bruce, vice president of marketing and strategic alliances at Jupiter Systems. In addition to attendees from Europe, he observed, "we're seeing people from the Middle East, and also from as far away as Kazakhstan. So we're very happy with the show."
"Attendees here are very focused," noted Jeff Kindig, vice president, marketing strategy at AMX. "They're seeking understanding about the marketplace and their business, and their questions are always just dead-on."
Echoing that sentiment was John Benz, director of marketing at Furman Sound: "Everybody we're talking to here represents significant business, and they're often traveling from very far away. You'd have to go around the world in 80 days to see the variety of people you see here. The show has become an absolute destination."
News at the show included Tannoy's establishment on February 1 of a new Applications, Engineering, and Training (AET) Group, headed by Graham Hendry, formerly Tannoy's director of business development. Hendry and Tannoy managing director Andrzej Sosna told me that the group would allow closer collaboration among Tannoy's sister pro audio companies under the T.C. Group banner, Lab.gruppen and Lake.
Other news included Biamp's creation of three new management positions in a reorganization of its best and brightest. Graeme Harrison has been appointed executive vice president of marketing; Matt Czyzewski has been named executive vice president of operations; and Ron Camden has been named vice president of worldwide sales. With Tesira shipping in May, Biamp's demo space was packed for every session, and the cafe tables on the second level of the booth were full of integrators working on specs for new projects.
I could go on and on about the snippets of news I picked up at the show, but some more highlights include Christie's collaboration with James Cameron on the future production of Avatar sequels 2 and 3. FSR exhibited for the first time ever this year at ISE, and celebrated its 31st anniversary on February 1. Analog Way has started producing its own training videos as part of a website redesign. Gefen jumped into the control products market with its new PACS and GAVA HTML-5 based graphical interface control system—expect to see that highlighted in a conference room setting at InfoComm. Blackmagic Design also jumped into the ISE exhibitor fray this year, anchoring a huge booth with interactive exhibits that let attendees play with all the AV gear built into the walls. And business opportunities at the show are such that Community Professional moved to a new, larger booth this year, after deciding to move out from its distributors' stands.
As one might expect, there were plenty of product introductions at this busy show, and I'll report on those in a second blog, to be published with SCN's product news on Monday, February 6. Prepare yourself for more from the show floor next week.