The opening day of ISE 2023 got off to a spectacular start as His Majesty, Felipe VI, the King of Spain arrived for his much anticipated tour and inauguration of this year’s show at the Fira Grand Via. The Royal Party and accompanying dignitaries and officials visited stands of exhibiting companies, including Lutron, Google, Shure, Panasonic, Matrox, Alfalite, Equipson Group and the Barcelona City Council. Pictured with His Majesty (centre) are (L-R) Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona; Núria Marín, mayor of Hospitalet de Llobregat; Raquel Sánchez, Spanish minister of transportation; Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Events; and Eugènia Gay, Dean of Barcelona Bar Association.
Later in the day, giving the ISE 2023 opening keynote, BK Johannessen of Epic Games told the audience how Unreal Engine was pushing the boundaries of content and experiences, explaining that more than half of new video games use Unreal Engine, and Fortnite alone supports 350 million players worldwide. Because of its success on the games side, Johannessen said Epic makes everything it builds available for free.
“Why do we do this? Because we’re makers, developers, engineers and artists just like you,” he said. “We believe people should have the freedom to create, play and learn in more connected and meaningful ways. That extends to enabling your success over monetisation.”
He added: “We are excited to show our partners at the ISE show all the things Unreal can do. That’s why training is core for us.”
Over at the Smart Building Conference, Erik Ubels, senior consultant at MetisReal, said the smart building industry is very fragmented and needs to “start to realise that this is the reality out there” in order to bring about change.
“The technology is there,” he insisted, citing DC power and Power over Ethernet among other capabilities, as well as what he sees as the requirement for a single IP network inside the whole building. A key problem is a lack of co-ordination among those engaged in installing equipment and technology in buildings.
Ubels was taking part in the keynote panel of yesterday’s conference. In a separate talk he also outlined how he challenges the traditional approach to smart buildings, and described how a lifecycle management model is required to ensure all aspects of a sustainable building are taken into account from the outset. Fellow panellist Claire Penny, director of global partnerships at Invicara, noted that people are starting to wake up to the digital twin, “and not digital twin as a fancy 3D model they can spin around, but something they can actually compose and tailor to their needs”.
Palle Dinesen, CEO and co-founder of Ubiqisense, also observed that we are “only just starting to scratch the surface of smart buildings”.
At the inaugural Content Production & Distribution Summit, Marcus Brodersen, CEO of graphics software company Pixotope, suggested that virtual production will be increasingly used for all high-end visual communication. “VP will be ubiquitous,” he told the audience. “The differences between broadcast, film, live, AV and game production is starting to be less important than the commonalities.”
To underline the point, Brodersen was joined on stage by Stephan Ukas-Bradley, VP solutions, Americas, ARRI, and Stacia Pfeiffer, VP producer, Lux Machina. “Virtual production will eventually be indistinguishable from live production,” Brodersen claimed.
The benefits of VP are available now for every kind of high-end visual communication, he said. For instance, VP can be programmatically controlled, “something possible with online media but less so with traditionally produced content”.
“All video-based content will eventually have the visual impact of high-end feature films combined with the connected and scalable nature of online content and the immersive and social experience of video games,” added Brodersen.
Meanwhile, Spanish media giant Mediapro Group chose ISE 2023 to announce a major €3 million investment in virtual production. Tatxo Benet, managing partner, MediaPro, said: “Virtual production is here to stay and is already revolutionising the AV sector. As a traditional broadcaster we were the original audiovisual company. Now, banks, theatres, schools, automotive – everyone is becoming an AV company.”
Coinciding with its namesake Summit, one of the highlights of this year’s show is the new Content Production & Distribution Zone in Hall 6. On the TV3 stand (6D400), the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (CCMA) and technology start-up YBVR demonstrated the immersive power of transmitting live 360° video and audio by placing showgoers with VR headsets within an incredible Catalan Human Tower. Elsewhere, visitors were being immersed in a tunnel of colour at the Aluvision stand (6G350) and getting their game-faces on the big screen with Absen’s Esports & Gaming Showcase (6E150), among many more.
Congress Square is situated at the heart of the Fira during ISE 2023, and it got up and running yesterday for visitors to explore and be inspired by the wealth of AV talent in Barcelona and the Catalonia region. The central booth (CS300) is co-hosted by the Clúster Audiovisual de Catalunya, a network of local AV companies, and Barcelona City Council. As well as hosting 10 exciting start-up companies, it features an immersive installation that can place you as a digital avatar within many of Barcelona’s photogenic landmarks. The video and audio installation was designed by Exit.Design and produced by Sono, and is proving very popular.
In Congress Square’s Impact Lounge (CS700), Women in Live Music (WILM), a European platform and online community for women working in live music, is using ISE to find out more about female visitors to the show as the industry pushes forward with its drive to attract a more diverse workforce. WILM would like to know more about the women working in the industry, including the areas in which they work and where in the world they’re from. It has created a quick survey that can be completed by scanning the QR code pictured.
Malle Kaas, CEO of WILM, said: “If you are a woman or identifying as a woman, please take a minute to fill out this Women in Live Music survey. With the survey we hope to uncover which part of the tech industry women visiting ISE represent – sales, R&D, AV etc. With the answers we hope to learn more about any unrepresented areas.”
The findings of the survey are scheduled to be made public towards the end of February.
Elsewhere, electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre (pictured) found Space at ISE with Coda Audio’s new concept in installation audio, presenting an immersive demo of his ground-breaking 3D audio composition Oxymore.
Space by Coda comprises 70mm deep speaker units and acoustic panels which can be used to define any acoustic environment. The demo used 32 invisible immersive speakers and 101sqm of acoustical treatment, including 264 absorbers and 16 diffusers, covered in artworks by French abstract painter Eric Decasto.
Jarre said: “We have a two-dimensional relationship with recorded sound, but stereo doesn’t exist in nature. It is the environment which creates perspective, and technology now allows us to create music like we experience sound in our everyday life.”