On the eve of the ISE 2015 exhibition, yesterday two major conferences returned to Amsterdam – the Smart Building Conference and AudioForum.
With a record number of attendees – over 200 – the Smart Building Conference explored the twin themes of smart lighting and the Internet of Things.
Rogier van de Heide – previously chief design officer for Philips Lighting, now currently chief marketing and design officer of Zumtobel Group, addressed the topic of ‘Why light needs smartness’ in one of two keynote presentations. Another high-profile speaker from the lighting world was Mike Welch, who looked at the commercial opportunities of networked lighting in ‘Intelligent Lighting Control: Whose Business Is It?’.
A second keynote was presented by Paul Fletcher (pictured) of building consultancy 'through...', who looked at smart building myths from an architect's viewpoint.
Dipak Raval, head of smart building architecture at Cambridge Consultants, spoke about smart sensors – the key building blocks of the Internet of Things, which was also the subject of a lively panel session.
The conference followed its traditional pattern of splitting into separate commercial and residential tracks for part of the programme.
Yesterday’s AudioForum was the fifth edition of the conference event, presented by Connessioni, which has previously taken place in Milan and Mumbai. The day-long event featured digital in every way, as nary a professional audio trend would be complete without discussion of software or DSP. Topics relevant to audio design, integration and live events were discussed in the context of building knowledge and business for the rapidly evolving future, with participants taking keen interest in sharpening skills in modeling, time alignment, networking and Class D amplification.
Attendees from the live sound and installation worlds convened at the event. The notion of convergence was very much on the mind of Jack Cornish, a project manager with London-based AV integration firm Tateside. Cornish was seeking to increase his knowledge in acoustical modeling and DSP, noting that many of his firm’s customers are asking for modeling. Honing his expertise would bring the in-house skill sets for Tateside to “confidently offer end-to-end solutions,” he noted.
Another AudioForum attendee, Thierry Staelens from Event Consult of Belgium emphasised that pro audio today is all “software, software, software – ten years ago it was paper and pen, and now it’s software.”
Staelens’ observation that front-of-house is better known as “laptop land” these days, with one of his most recent jobs requiring four laptops running various pieces of software, seemed apt as Powersoft system engineer Luigi Chelli launched into his session. With the “high granularity of DSP control,” he said, “you can shape the coverage of your PA very carefully and tightly to your audience.”
The sessions made it apparent that digital is not only essential, but as Chelli commented, it’s actually “a no-brainer, because it actually saves you a lot of headaches.”