High numbers of attendees on the show floor and in the many seminars at the UK CEDIA event, which ended on 26 June, suggested not only a successful Expo, but an industry sector seemingly immune to many of the woes of the economy at large, writes Simon Croft.
At press time, before the event had closed, it was too early for an official visitor count but the atmosphere was abuzz. The sense of excitement was added to by a number of broadcast crews on the floor, including one shooting material for GMTV that went to air during the event and another from SkyTV's Technofile programme.
With its emphasis on education programmes for its members, CEDIA Expos have always been big on training. Even so, there were unexpected successes, such as the daily presentation by AppleTV, which was well attended on the first day but packed by as many as 70 visitors on the second day. Presumably, the difference between the two days was simply word of mouth. Nearly all sessions enjoyed large audiences.
There were some compelling sites on the show floor, including KEF's colossal silvered speaker systems, which literally towered over visitors. Then there was Pulse Marketing's D-Box demonstrations, including a consistently popular racing car game, complete with motorised seat. Presumably the avid players hadn't just suffered the experience of driving to the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands.
Arguably the strangest exhibits were the OV/E pods from The Oculas Group. Described as "a luxurious personalised capsule designed purely for you", the giant eggs are designed to deliver the "ultimate digital media experience". Each one is said to be handcrafted and unique.
Exhibitor opinion seemed divided on the issue of whether this year's Expo was more or less attractive to Europe as a whole. Some said they had seen fewer visitors from mainland Europe and suggested that the rising success of ISE could be turning the CEDIA offering into "more of a UK show".
But others claimed the opposite, saying they had seen more visitors from across Europe. Both experiences were no doubt equally valid and the biggest variable seemed to be how widely an exhibitor's products were already represented across Europe.