InAVation is the name of the game ’“ part II

In part two of our show report from ISE 2010, we look at what was on offer from the control and video processing fraternities as well as the strides that ISE has made in attracting major audio vendors to make significant launches….

On the video processing and control front there were also several interesting developments. Extron continues to drastically expand its fibre product range, this time announcing, amongst other things, a massive 320 x 320 fibre matrix. The company also revealed a new bespoke matrix product option, allowing integrators with specific requirements to order even larger products in a custom built chassis.
Whilst Crestron had done most of its launching at InfoComm, ISE still gave its InAVation  Award winning Digital Media solution a European debut.
Competitors AMX launched new products in TV distribution over the network into Europe, as well as new Novara 3000 series wall controllers for classrooms and meeting rooms. Digital signage was another theme from the company, with the announcement of its IS XPRESS range.
Cue also had several new offerings. Visual Composer is a new programming environment for the configuration of Cue systems. It offers multilingual support for touch panel interfaces, which is a really nice feature to my mind.
There was also a new wireless touch panel in the shape of airCUE-7. This is the first in a new line of panels called cuenium2. These feature LED backlit screens and this particular model is a 7” wide screen panel at 800 x 480 resolution.
Kramer joined the iPhone app club, with a both an iPhone and PC control programme for its flagship VP-729 ProScale Digital Scaler/Switcher.  The iPhone app looks decidedly underwhelming but I’m sure it works just fine. The PC application can be used for the 729 or 728 models and controls via RS-232 codes.
However, if you really want to see a company doing cool things with mobile devices look no further than Stardraw Control. On the Comm-Tec booth under the AVIT banner, the company was demonstrating its latest web technology-based interface to remotely control a meeting space. Taking nothing away from Stardraw, what it is doing looks complicated and clever and yet it is in principle stupidly simple, it’s just that no one else is really doing it as elegantly, if at all.
Which brings us to audio technology. In the past, ISE was criticised for not attracting enough audio exhibitors. That just isn’t possible any more. All the installed sound fraternity are there, and now for commercial audio it’s even an event for major product launches. No longer is Frankfurt the place where Biamp launch their most important new product for several years, oh no dear reader it is ISE. 
Vocia is a comprehensive networked media system (that’s a distributed PA/VA offering) based on CobraNet for its audio distribution. It contains everything from amplifiers, to paging stations and routing hardware. The company also revealed a new AEC algorithm called Sona which is present in AEC-2HD cards for the Flex frame and Nexia TC / VC boxes. 
Bosch Communication Systems, who announced both a new congress system (the CCS 900 Ultro) and a new Varidirectional loudspeaker array (that’s a steerable column to you and I), are not event going to be exhibiting at ProLight & Sound.
Meyer Sound was even moved to give a sneak preview of what its own array system will look like, despite not yet having a working model. Yes, I dislike “pre-launches” as much as the next man, but the significance of it happening at this show is not lost on me.
New installed sound products are now everywhere at ISE – QSC announced now higher powered ceiling speakers, as well as more elements for its Q-Sys networked audio solution, which continues to develop promisingly. These include a 64 / 128 channel solid state file player and redundant amplifiers. Future developments are expected to include some remote control devices and paging stations.
AVB was another big topic for the audio guys this year. The AVB standard development seminar on Wednesday was so full that I ended up sitting on the floor at the back of the room. The most interesting discussion focused on the future roadmap of the standard and the likely time scale for productisation. The bottom line is that until network infrastructure is AVB compliant, uptake will be limited. Expect serious product availability within the next 24 months.
So has ISE achieved trade show nirvana then? Well, it seems pretty close. I actually felt that this year’s event had more new to offer in terms of genuine innovation than InfoComm did last summer. That might well have been a function of the economic climate than anything else, but it is impossible to ignore that there were at least half a dozen completely new, original or exciting products on show for the first time anywhere in the world.
Given what the exhibitors brought to the party, you’d think that the organiser’s job might be done, but I’d argue far from it. They are in a happy place at the moment of having a dedicated, and growing audience (another record set this year). IS Events do have a couple of things to sort out. Firstly navigation, despite digital signs a plenty, working out which aisle you’re in is still a challenge some times in halls full of big bold stands.
Also, someone needs to have a word with the RAI about internet access. This is 2010, not 1910, the fact that the best way to get an internet connection was to hope some poor fool hadn’t locked up their wireless network is pretty shameful. If you want the press to blog and tweet about what’s going on at the show, don’t expect them to pay exorbitant data roaming charges from cell networks, provide a comprehensive wireless network in the show. Our American cousins can do it, why can’t we?
If 2009 was the year of thinking positive, 2010 is set to be the year of turning positive thoughts into actions. Lets take these new innovations, and make the best use of them.
ISE 2011 takes place in Amsterdam 1-3 February.

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