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Ten things not to miss at ISE 2018

There’s plenty to keep you occupied during ISE 2018 apart from the exhibition itself. Here’s our pick of the top 10 attractions in Amsterdam between Monday 5 and Friday 9 February.

10. Show Floor Theatres
ISE’s Show Floor Theatres offer free, informative 20-minute sessions that you don’t have to leave the exhibition, or book in advance, to attend. There is a strong programme of 160 presentations in this year’s three theatres. The AVIXA Commercial Solutions Theatre (stand 8-A470) covers the widest range of subject matter; the CEDIA Smart Building Theatre (stand 9-F100) will host presentations on sessions relating to residential technologies as well as smart buildings; and the AVIXA Unified Communications Solutions Theatre (stand 11-A170) will be dedicated to technologies for improving communication and knowledge sharing in business, education and elsewhere.

9. AudioForum

Produced by ISE media partner Connessioni, AudioForum returns to ISE on Monday 5 February. The conference is aimed at anyone interested in knowing more about the latest audio technologies and how they interact with, and impact, AV and systems integration. The 2018 conference will focus on three main themes: Digital Audio Transport; Audio Design with Audio over IP; and Digital Audio Protocols. Chiara Benedettini, Connessioni president and editor-in-chief, explains: “Audio networking is both an old and a new topic so we will discuss the history and development of technologies and techniques and how that has led to the present situation, as well as looking more closely at AVB, AES67 and AES70, and Dante.”

8. AV Technology Europe Awards
Our sister title AV Technology Europe, targeted exclusively at end-users in the AV market, is holding its first awards event on the evening of Wednesday 7 February. The venue is the Café-Restaurant Dauphine, just a seven-minute cab ride or a 20-minute walk from the RAI. The event will feature Individual and Team Awards, including AV/IT Manager of the Year and AV Team of the Year; Technology Excellence Awards for the best uses of technology to improve fixed installations; while the past year’s outstanding projects and events will be celebrated with Project Excellence Awards.

7. Sports Venue and Fan Engagement Summit
For ISE 2018, sports broadcast association SVG Europe is partnering with leading venue publication PanStadia & Arena Management to present the new Sports Venue and Fan Engagement Summit. The half-day conference, on Thursday 8 February, will discuss the rapidly evolving design and applications of the modern sports stadium, while also considering other areas related to the overall visitor experience – in particular those technologies geared towards enhancing fan engagement, including mobile and OTT services.

Wednesday 6 February sees the second Digital Signage Summit at ISE, although its parent event has been taking place for over a decade. “The half-day conference will largely focus on the evolutionary shift in the digital signage value chain. A key question that will be debated is: what are the future roles of systems integrators, software suppliers, display vendors and other ecosystem partners?” says Florian Rotberg, managing director of digital signage research company invidis consulting and a co-organiser of the event, along with ISE. “DSS will deliver exclusive market intelligence and insight to delegates, as well as providing unparalleled networking opportunities.”

5. blooloopLIVE

Night-time events are becoming increasingly popular in the visitor attractions industry as venues seek to increase their offerings, extend their opening hours or even become multi-day destinations. These events can range from simple live performances to complex, multifaceted productions using video mapping, lighting and laser effects. The new blooloopLIVE experiential-themed conference will explore the trends involved in delivering these nocturnal spectaculars. The half-day event, on the morning of Friday 9 February, will explore key examples of successful events and see contributions from both the operators and leading AV players behind their creation.

4. Smart Building Conference
Taking ‘From Smart Building to Smart City’ as its theme, the Smart Building Conference returns to the RAI on Monday 5 February. SBC explores the latest technologies, business strategies, market research and workflow case studies – with presentations from leading smart building experts and thought leaders.

“This year’s theme looks at how as more layers of digital networks are blanketing urban space, new approaches to commercial and residential built environment are emerging,” explains conference chairman Bob Snyder. The Conference is followed immediately by the ISE Opening Address, given by Professor Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT.

3. XR Summit and XR Technology Zone
XR – a catch-all abbreviation encompassing virtual, augmented and mixed reality – is high on the agenda at ISE this year. On Tuesday 6 February, the first ever XR Summit will take place, chaired by Benjamin de Wit, founder and festival director of VR Days Europe. It’s an opportunity to hear from world experts on what’s going on in the XR market, illustrated by case studies from those who have successfully deployed it. And throughout the show in the XR Technology Zone, Holovis will be showcasing an array of emerging XR technology solutions for entertainment and enterprise – including training and simulation, architectural design, collaboration, retail and brand engagement and virtual manufacturing.

Following its highly successful debut at InfoComm 2017 in Orlando, AVIXA is bringing TIDE (Technology. Innovation. Design. Experience) to ISE 2018. The conference’s mission is to set the wide range of AV technology in a user context. Taking place on Monday 5 February at the Hotel Okura, TIDE’s theme will be ‘Design Thinking for Business’. The opening keynote will be given by Daan Roosegaarde, founder of Amsterdam-based Studio Roosegaarde, which develops projects that explore the relationship between people, technology and space.

1. World Masters of Projection Mapping
Integrated Systems Europe’s relationship with the city of Amsterdam goes back to 2005, but for most of that time its activities have been focused on the RAI. This year sees ISE involved in a high-profile event in the centre of the city: the World Masters of Projection Mapping (WMPM) competition – organised jointly by ISE, Amsterdam Light Festival and RAI Amsterdam.

The competition will see specially created content from five international video artists projected onto the EYE Filmmuseum, alongside the river IJ. This is a modern building whose façade is a complicated arrangement of irregular geometric shapes, onto which the video content will be mapped.

Each artwork, which runs for six minutes, will begin with projection onto two 40m x 15m water screens in front of the museum. These screens will then be lowered to allow the projection to take place on the museum façade.

A number of technical partners have provided equipment or expertise to the competition. Panasonic has supplied 12 projectors: PT-RZ31 and PT-RZ21 models – WUXGA 3-chip DLP laser projectors with 30,000 and 20,000 lumens brightness respectively.

These will beam content from a disguise (formerly d3 Technologies) 4×4 Pro media server, with the signals sent over Lightware HDBaseT equipment. Audio, which will accompany the competition entries on 8 and 9 February, will play out over Alcons Audio speakers.

There will also be a large infrastructure of power supplies and cabling supplied by local integrator Beam Systems, which is responsible for the competition’s AV installation.

Beam Systems has been involved in projection mapping projects for a dozen years, according to sales manager Jason Malone. There are two aspects that make this project different from most, he says: “Usually when you project on a building, it’s a relatively flat surface, although it might have some shapes and angles. But the shape of the EYE Filmmuseum is kind of faceted – there are no straight surfaces on it, everything is tilted or tipped, and triangular. And it’s next to the water – the water’s edge is only about 30m away, which makes it really challenging. Usually you have plenty of distance from a building, but in this case the projectors need to be extremely close, which has made the system design more challenging. Instead of having an array of beamers from one central point, here we’re having to position them all around the building.”

Thursday evening
The projections from the five shortlisted artists have been shown since 14 January from 7am to 9am and from 5pm to 11pm, with the featured artist changing each day. The judging panel, led by Amsterdam Light Festival creative director Lennart Booij, will convene on the evening of Thursday 8 February, when all five videos will be shown, with accompanying audio.

A choice of hospitality cruise packages for the evening, sailing from the RAI, is available from Artifex – these can be perused via the ISE website.

Rembrandt Boswijk of Indyvideo, a specialist supplier to Amsterdam Light Festival and technical project manager for WMPM, comments: “After a helicopter, the best place to see the projections is from a boat, because you can move around and look from different angles.”

Other key vantage points for seeing the projections include the quay near Central station and the Amsterdam Tower, which is very close to the Filmmuseum.

Boswijk adds: “An artist needs input from the building before they can create their content, so we looked for 3D drawings of the building. But the existing drawings were not accurate enough, so we’ve scanned the whole building in 3D – which was a pretty interesting process. It generates a point cloud of all the scanning points which is translated into a 3D drawing; this is used for the UV map, which is a type of 3D drawing used specially for video mapping.”

Beam Labs, the creative division of Beam Systems, has worked with the artists on the technical implementation of their content into the 3D mapping system. “We are helping them with our knowledge and our artistic ideas to get as close to their ideas as we can, because the shape of the building is so complicated,” says Malone.

Awards ceremony
The competition comes to a climax at ISE on Friday 9 February, when the World Masters of Projection Mapping Presentation and Showcase will be held in the Forum at 12:30pm.

All five finalists will be on stage at the ceremony, and will present their entries to the audience. They will talk about the inspiration behind their artworks and the production techniques they have used. The overall winner will then be announced.