Show Report: Bynet Expo 2019

Israel is known as a nation at the forefront of early adoption, and in the ever-changing AV world, the same applies to the growing trend of AV-IT convergence on full display at Israel’s front-running IT industry event: Bynet Expo. Reece Webb reports.

Bynet Expo is Israel’s largest IT event, attracting major players in the region from both the IT and, with growing frequency in recent years, from the AV world.

The event is hosted by the company of the same name, Bynet – one of Israel’s largest integrators and service providers in the AV and IT market.

Expo entrance

Bynet is comprised of more than 20 companies covering a broad range of sectors in AV, cloud services, telecoms, data security, cyber solutions and more.

This year, Bynet Expo celebrated its 16th year, with the event taking place on 19 June 2019 at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre.

The expo runs as a single day event, attracting approximately 5,200 visitors and end users from across the region.

Bynet CEO, Alon Ben-Zur [pictured below] explained: “Bynet Expo is the most important IT event in Israel. It’s a platform that we built to show customers what we can do.

“We gathered together the most important companies, some of which we have been working with for a few decades, and we tried to cast a wide net with different companies, solutions and the combinations between them.”

Bynet CEO: Alon Ben Zur

The expo provides the company with a prime opportunity to demonstrate products and services that Bynet offers in an ‘in-application’ setting alongside more than 100 exhibitors, representing Bynet’s technology partners from the AV and IT worlds.

On the AV side, a broad spectrum was covered, from the display market in the form of Samsung, NEC and PrimeView, control with Extron, Kramer and Crestron and a strong representation from Cisco, Razorlabs and Poly.

A unique market 

Cisco general manager Israel, Oren Sagi said: “Israel is considered as the start-up nation. We have 7,000 active start-ups in the country and Israeli customers are early adopters, whether this is from the big tech companies or from small start-ups. It is a very important market for us in global terms and we are leveraging Israeli talent with the recent acquisition of 14 companies in Israel.”

Cisco Speech

Shay Giuili, CEO of PrimeView, said: “The Israeli market is based on real need, in real time with one problem: they want it yesterday. There’s no planning, no consolidated strategy on how to deploy technology, there is a need to be fulfilled immediately. We see it in command and control centres, major corporate conference and demo rooms, the Israeli market is very much a ‘here and now’ market with a heavy focus on cost.”

Amit Keynan, director, product management for Kramer Electronics, explained: "The Israeli market is more dedicated towards the military market and there's a lot of military and government projects. As a result, there are many restrictions and many special needs that are tailored for that kind of market.

"Kramer provides both on premise management system solutions for the market segments that require secure systems; as well as access to the cloud for other segments such as education and corporate that widely exist in Israel."

Show floor

The market is not without its challenges as Yehuda Dvir, AV manager at Bynet explained: "It's a very sophisticated market, moving to AVoIP made us work with our customers' IT personnel. Those people must keep the network safe, so our AV engineers must be able to speak a new language, being aware of network hazards and understanding networking in addition to AV.

"It starts by designing and implementing digital signage systems, video on demand and IPTV. Bynet is unique as we are a part of a big IT and integration company – we can lean on our in-house IT experts to learn this new language. It's an advantage for us as the AV market is moving to AV over IP - much more sophisticated and complex, so you need to train your people and be able to address areas such as networking, network security, servers and databases."

Panel time

Education and exchanging of information played a central role at the expo, with over 80 lectures available and specific discussion panels featuring industry experts from a variety of companies, with three AV-focused panels.

The first panel, featuring representatives from Cisco and Poly, focused on the cloud services phenomena - discussing AV strategies and the challenges of the cloud market.

Cisco spoke about integrating Webex to the cloud, with Poly also takings its end equipment to the cloud to be operable with other platforms.

Looking at the changes in the cloud world, Poly explained that 65% of customers made cloud calls between two devices, with both Poly and Cisco using sound cancelling devices to market to small offices and open environments as these particular workspaces continue to become more popular in the global workspace, with an emphasis on BYOD friendly codecs.

Aiming towards the future, the topic of 3D communication was explored, which both companies agreed will see a larger uptake in the next five years as the technology develops, with customers demanding more modular options for flexible and remote working.

Bynet UC Panel

The second panel, with representatives from Extron, Crestron, Atlona and Kramer highlighted the growing trend of AV-IT convergence, with a focus on changes to approaches with IP as well as potential security issues as the lines between AV and IT continue to blur.

Crestron’s Dekel Sherman said that the talk of the industry is focused on IP, with different systems beginning to speak the same language; however, when quizzed on potential future language compatibility between Crestron and Extron, both representatives were quick to dismiss the idea.

Extron’s Eran Gideon explained that quality is the most important aspect, with the best quality needed for IP to provide the highest quality compression.

Atlona’s Sagi Lichtenberg hypothesised that there is no motivation to build a standard, as he believes standards will stagnate innovation.

The third and final panel focused on display technologies, with speakers from Samsung, NEC and PrimeView discussing uptake of projector, LCD and LED technology, which has seen an up increase in uptake of 60% in the Israeli market.

Samsung’s Miki Klein believes that projector use is decreasing rapidly while PrimeView CEO Shay Giuili expressed his view that demand for meeting room videowalls has evaporated, with LED screens gaining popularity in the meeting room environment.

He added that the screens must be easy to maintain despite the challenges in installing an LED screen in a meeting room environment.  

Blurred lines

Being an IT centric event, the topic of AV-IT integration was a central theme of discussion, with strong representation from a growing AV presence at the event in recent years, it was easy to see how the lines between AV and IT continue to blur at a rapid pace.

Dekel Sherman, VP of sales for Crestron Israel thinks that AV has now become a department of IT. He said: “AV is the new son of IT, but most of the IT departments are quite used to being in the comfort zone.

Data Centre

“When the IT manager gets AV as part of his responsibility, one of the challenges is to have the knowledge about the AV industry, and I think the first obstacle is to get the knowledge and to put the right person to be responsible forwards.

“The second challenge is the flexibility that the AV industry needs because, as an IT manager, you can never know what your in-house client will want to implement. It can be video, it can be a control room, it can be anything. You have to pick the right platform, as it has to be flexible, but still strong with all the other IT departments.

“Traditionally, the AV system integrators here in Israel are the ones dealing with RS232, special cables and every installation was complex, then the industry and the vendors moved to IP. The move to IP brought different challenges, video traffic over the network, if it’s compressed or if it’s open, the industry also realised this is moving from the facility to the IT guys, the AV industry needed to adapt. What we’ve seen in the last couple of years is vendors and the integrators move from traditional AV cabling and AV deployment to IP.”

While Bynet is an IT based company with an AV department, it certainly is not the only company expanding in this direction as Sagi Lichtenberg, regional manager for southern Europe, Atlona, explains: "Panduit is an IT based company buying an AV company and that’s happened for a reason, because the end user is the same end user. We're talking about the same people doing the same thing and now we're able to provide an end to end solution with infrastructure and the AV as one part of a bigger system."

Bynet Expo Crowd

Armando Trivellato, senior director BOE, Poly, believes that shows like Bynet Expo are a sign of the times in the evolution of the industry. He said: “I believe there is more understanding in the IT sector that AV is an integral and important part of any new facility and network that you are building. I believe that we will continue to have dedicated shows like ISE and InfoComm, but I believe we will see more vendors like Poly coming to IT dedicated shows and showing that AV is no longer an island, it is part of the general infrastructure. I believe we are still being viewed as somewhat of an exotic bird in the IT world, we need to get the IT people to get more familiar with AV and events like this expose it more than an AV dedicated show. You will probably see more AV companies penetrating IT shows.”

Bynet Expo could well be one of the first of what could become a typical event for AV companies in the future as the industry pushes further towards deeper integration and convergence with the IT world. There is no question that the industry is evolving in a significant way, and Bynet Expo could be a brief taster of the future of the AV world.