From humble beginnings at Pinewood Studios, the annual NEC Solutions Showcase has become a slick operation that sees NEC and its partner descend on a prestigious London venue to offer end users an array of technology innovation.
For the ninth edition the show relocated once again, this time for a two-day stint at Victoria House in central London.
The Showcase is divided into zones starting with Corporate, Education, then leading into Transport and Command and Control, after which there is an open Breakout Area with NEC display and laser projector shootouts, and finally the Retail zone. Partners for the event include Adder, Datapath, Peerless, Tripleplay, ZeeVee and many more.
A particular highlight is the 36-screen command and control videowall (pictured main), which features NEC 46in displays as well as a Datapath control system and Peerless mounting. The 4×9 configuration includes content from live camera feeds, traffic management and data reporting. Also impressive, the 4K video editing suite (pictured below) in the Education zone utilises ZeeVee’s ZyPer4K networking technology, NEC UHD displays and Peerless flat-to-wall mounts.
For NEC, Neil Hartigan, general manager at NEC Display Solutions for the UK and Ireland, highlighted the V and P Series displays embedded with Raspberry Pi computing products with many of NEC’s partners also showcasing solutions using Raspberry Pi. Another product cited was the new InfinityBoard for collaborative spaces as well as the company’s latest laser projectors, which have opened up new markets away from education including retail.
When asked about guarding against the event becoming a product showcase, Hartigan said: “We work very closely with our partners and we look at what solutions they want to provide and show at this particular event. So it’s not all about NEC, obviously the screen technology and projection technology is going to be NEC, but we do work very closely with our partners to make sure they’ve got the right solutions and there isn’t too much doubling up, people aren’t looking at ‘me too’ type solutions, they’re looking at something inventive, innovative and solutions that they actually want to buy and use.”
The use of AV technology in many of the verticals featured extensively at the Showcase has exploded over the last few years: “I would say retail is probably the biggest. You see screens and signage solutions in retail all the time now,” said Hartigan. Also singled out, the transport sector has become much more digitalised both in terms of passenger information and as retail environments.
As for which technology areas are currently the most exciting, Hardigan commented: “There’s going to be large growth in LED technology, especially indoor LED. What’s held it back up until now is resolution, that has improved massively, but it’s also the price that has kept people away from investing. We’ve done some very good things in installations for LED – it’s not a big market yet, but in the next two or three it’ll be a big growth area.”
The original purpose of the event was to work with partners and display solutions that end users would want to buy, and Hartigan was keen to point out that it was never meant to be purely about NEC. On top of that the aim is to deliver an “innovative idea-generating event for the end user.”
Looking forward, Hartigan concluded: “We always seem to find a slightly better venue, and find a better way of putting things together. I think the biggest thing is we’re able to show state of the art solutions at that particular time that people want to buy now or in 12 months, because nobody wants to show yesterday’s technology.”