Best Practice: ISE 2015 Pre-Show Briefing

By Peter Aylett, Archimedia Middle East. The Integrated System Europe show is now THE most important Global integrated technology show. Transcending the commercial vs. residential distinction, ISE 2015 gives us three days of concentrated immersion into the products and solutions that keep our customers and bank managers happy. Having grown from a single hall show in 2004, to now taking up the entire floor area of the Amsterdam RAI venue, some advance planning is necessary to get the best out of your visit. Here are my top five tips. Have some objectives. Having objectives will make your visit more focused and efficient. These could be structured such as arranging meetings with key contacts, to using the time finding products and solutions to add a new vertical to your company. The Internet is superb for researching specific products, but only if you already understand what to look for. Shows add value by allowing you to discuss solutions with the experts manning the stands. This year, I will be focusing on researching and discussing solutions for boardrooms, including conferencing, unified communications, and interactive display devices. Take a few courses. Both CEDIA and InfoComm have their most comprehensive education program ever at an ISE in 2015. In addition to longer paid courses, there are two showfloor theatres where a range of short, free-of-charge presentations take place. With long days on your feet, all these sessions are ideal for both learning something as well as taking the strain off your tired feet. Check out the ISE website for full details of the available sessions. [caption id="attachment_7641" align="aligncenter" width="583"] Immersive Audio was all the rage at the CEDIA show in Denver with both Auro3D and Dolby Atmos systems out in force.[/caption] Look to the future. Global shows such as ISE are an excellent indicator of where technology is heading for in the next 12 months. Last year’s hottest topic was 4K. Here are some trends to look out for this year:
  • 4K (Or UHD as it should be called in consumer-orientated product) will still be a big talking point. This year the discussion has moved onto HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compatibility with soon to be released UHD source components. Though I never use the phase future proof’, ever, to a customer, consider what the infrastructure you install today will need to be carrying in five years time. 8K will happen, and be usable on the back of what will effectively be Display device wallpaper’ potentially taking up a whole wall of a room. Bandwidth is everything when discussing infrastructure so look out for and discuss fibre infrastructure solutions.
  • Control System manufacturers will be upping their innovation game to stem the tide of apps for everything. Look out for location awareness technologies and lower cost wireless ecosystems that will bring control down to a new more mass-market price point.
  • Projector manufacturers will be showing off their latest LED and laser-illuminated projectors with some of these being 4K. One of the things I’d love to see is a reasonably priced 4K 3000+ lumens solid-state illuminated projector. Dream on?
  • Immersive Audio was all the rage at the CEDIA show in Denver with both Auro3D and Dolby Atmos systems out in force. With processors now coming out that support both systems, I’m sure that speaker manufacturers will be showing solutions for integrating immersive audio into real rooms.
  • Streaming services are now being supported and embedded into more and more systems and components. This is replacing the often slightly Heath Robinson approach that has been taken until now to offer our customers access to a broad range of content. Talk to suppliers about what relationships with content providers are in their development plans.
Use the floor plan. It now takes around 20 minutes to walk from one end of the show to the other. With this amount of time involved, plan your meetings and visits with the aid of a floor plan to minimise time and energy spent walking. Suppliers are always appreciative of customers arranging appointments in advance to see them on their stands. Doing this will also ensure that you have dedicated time to spend with the representatives and technical people who will be in such demand by everyone else during the show. [caption id="attachment_7643" align="aligncenter" width="819"] It now takes around 20 minutes to walk from one end of the show to the other.[/caption] Go for the Unknown Unknowns. Donald Rumsfeld (in)famously coined the phrase Unknown Unknowns’. This perfectly fits what shows should be about. That is not to see the things you already know about, but to discover the things you never know existed. The temptation at shows is to keep within your comfort zone by visiting existing suppliers and investigating solutions that fit within your current verticals. Use ISE to go beyond this and discover stuff that you never even knew existed. From that widget that converts a control protocol to IP, to a product category that sparks an idea for a new direction for your company, a show is best use to forge new relationships and discover new solutions rather than simply reinforcing the old. In these times of increasing pressure on margins there has never been a better time to re-assess the products and solutions that you sell. Plan your time for old relationships wisely, and you’ll liberate the time available to forge new ones. Peter Aylett is a world-renowned speaker and lecturer in residential technology, and the Technical Director at Archimedia, a multinational high-end residential integrator in The Middle East. He is also currently Chair of CEDIA’s International Technology Council Applied Content Action Team, and a regular contributor to HiddenWires.    

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