"This is an innovative idea which was proposed by our staging partner, UnUsUal Productions," says PALME Asia sales manager Hanslee Azhar. "It reflects the surge of interest in the integration market and will enable companies to collaborate on building their own environments - which will include live stages, comfortable style bars and catwalks."
Azhar says the move is a direct response to local market requirements: "Many manufacturers wish to show what else they can do apart from just sell products, and this is the perfect opportunity. We want each pavilion to be different."
In the past 12 months, the market for audiovisual systems in Singapore has evolved significantly, with the development of major projects such as the S$3.85bn Marina Bay Sands Complex. "Suddenly we are seeing an explosion of plasma screens, LCD, cubes and videowalls in the commercial and private sector," Azhar adds. "This is being recognised by companies such as Mitsu Technologies, who will be introducing the Planar home-theatre screens and projectors, and display giants Lighthouse Technologies."
The traditional after-show party on the first night will now take the form of a VIP soir_e in Hall 5, giving guests the opportunity to participate in the pavilions. Azhar adds that this innovation is indicative of the renewed awareness which has accompanied the rebranding of the former PALA Show, which operated under that banner for the past 18 years.
"The introduction of PALME Asia has given everyone a fresh outlook. Aside from the additional space now taken up in Hall 5 for these special features, the fact is that we have already welcomed more first-time exhibitors this year than at any show in the past," he says.
In a parallel development, the world's leading line-array manufacturers are being invited to go head-to-head in a shoot-out at this year's PALME Asia show. The opportunity for visitors to make their own evaluation on a large scale is a development of the idea piloted at PALME India last year - but on a much larger scale. As a result, PALME Asia's associate partner, UnUsUal Productions, will build the special infrastructure for the Event 360_ segment of the show to support this in Hall 5 at Singapore Expo.
"This is a major breakthrough for PALME Asia," claims Azhar. "We will be offering a maximum of 12 manufacturers the opportunity to participate - and the response has been overwhelming."
To date, world-renowned manufacturers such as DAS Audio, RCF, Meyer Sound, L'Acoustics, Nexo, TOA, Bosch/EVI, d&b audiotechnik and Master Audio have all confirmed direct participation, while others are expected to enter via local distributors.
Exhibition organiser IIR Exhibitions Entertainment & Installation Technology Group will provide mono loudspeaker control, along with the necessary manpower to rig the systems. All the manufacturers need to do is arrive with their test CD, and for a maximum of five minutes put their loudspeaker hangs through their paces.
"The shoot-out will take place twice a day over the full three days of the show," confirms Azhar. "Each session will last around two hours." As there will only be a minimal participation fee to manufacturers to cover costs, this is being seen as a highly cost-effective way for the industry in Asia to evaluate systems on a level playing field.