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Visitors’ verdicts on ISE 2017

Paddy Baker 27 February 2017
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ISE 2017 attendees have been telling us what aspects of the show caught their imaginations.

Jim Harwood, managing director, Focus 21, summed up the view of many: “ISE was great this year and there’s no better place to see product launches… It remains the most simple way to see and compare products rapidly and side by side.”

Edd Stonham, technical services manager at Electric String, said: “We always find ISE a hugely informative and useful show to attend, but this year seemed bigger and better than ever.”

“ISE provides a platform for me to connect with valued industry people as well as exhibiting manufacturers,” said Michel Buchner, creative technologist at Tinker Imagineers in the Netherlands.

For Blair Parkin, principal of TEECOM, the most enjoyable feature of the show was the new Hall 14. He explains: “I discovered a whole community of companies there who have not been to ISE before and indeed, some of the information we gathered is already influencing our project work. The theatre space, where the presentations and panels were, I had never ventured to before and I found the topics and the attendance in that space informative and in one case inspirational.”

Many of the people we contacted for this article commented on the display technologies at ISE 2017. Paul Childerhouse, group director of Pioneer Group, said: “There were some great high-resolution LED displays at the show this year, including edgeless and transparent LEDs coming through for creative applications. The stand-out part for us was the OLED displays on the LG stand. We are seeing a surge in internal communications as a vertical for digital signage, so the LG totems and OLED stretch products were really timely for those kind of applications, as well as dedicated digital signage displays from a lot of the leading manufacturers.” (Pictured is an 88in vertical stretch OLED display from LG, alongside an even-bezel videowall.)

Childerhouse was not alone in being impressed by LG. Electric String’s Stonham said: “We were particularly impressed by the Ultra Slim OLEDs from LG, which could be a real game-changer for the digital signage industry.” And Focus 21’s Harwood said: “LG’s OLED and transparent LED were both major draws and the creativity of the flexible displays will look great in a statement lobby space.”

Harwood added: “LED was everywhere, which reflects just how much that technology is at the forefront of projects in all kinds of verticals, from corporate to retail. SiliconCore and Christie stood out for the quality of their image, which makes LED a viable replacement for LCD/LED flat panel and projection for the first time.

“We were also impressed with Prysm’s Visual Workplace, a powerful collaboration cloud for teams that work remotely and Crestron’s next generation DigitalMedia NVX Series. There were loads of innovations in digital signage to look at too. Panasonic’s new AF1 digital signage series was a particular hit with the Focus 21 team with its Android connectivity.”

Martyn Barnett, managing director of RMG Networks, noted an increased solutions focus from exhibitors. He explained: “We gave a talk each day on the Ashton Bentley stand about live data visualisation and the power of visual communication in the internal communications environment. The positive reception we received reflected a move from the industry to focus on the content and interactivity of displays rather than on the hardware itself. We are seeing a huge shift towards visual communication being able to connect directly to business ROI, which was reflected in the solutions focus from a lot of the exhibitors.

“The dynamic signposting and creative LED solutions were some of the most eyecatching elements of the show. LED as the future of creative displays on a large scale and it’s a huge part of the RMG business going forward for all kinds of applications from retail to contact centres and corporate environments.”

Matt Finke, CEO of German company LOOP LIGHT, commented: “ISE 2017 was a very inspiring show with a lot of fascinating new products. The latest OLED displays, and uncompressed/uncompromising playback technologies, were of particular interest to me and my company”.

For Buchner at Tinker Imagineers,”the product highlight was Modulo Pi Kinetic that uses high-end software to play out content of any shape or size. As the industry will look completely different in five years’ time, I would have liked to see more game-changing technology in the Innovation Zone, so I am very much looking forward to that next year.”

On the audio side, Electric String’s Stoneham singled out “the new Meridian Audio power amps, which offer fantastic performance.”

Meanwhile Sawan Nichani, director of MACBEE, a New Delhi-based residential AV consultancy, remarked: “We were really impressed with the new Altitude 16 from Trinnov Audio, and the new Wisdom Audio ceiling speakers with the laser alignment tool. ISE provided us with the opportunity to see these new products first hand.”

To close, here’s an observation from Chris Mcintyre-Brown, an analyst with Futuresource: “We picked up a few negative comments that the show was getting too big and too diverse, but it’s not an opinion I personally share. I have been around long enough to have attended CeBIT in its heyday and understand the perils of losing focus. ISE just doesn’t have this feel yet. Yes, it has broadened its focus to include new areas, Smart Building being a great example, but all the zones are absolutely relevant to the pro AV community.

“Perhaps the important point here is a more general reflection of the world around us; we have moved into a converged and connected era where pro AV is often now part of a wider ecosystem. This trend will only accelerate moving forward and we can expect the show to continuing innovating to keep pace with these changes.”

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