ISE 2018: What’s New in the Netherlands?

ISE 2018: What’s New in the Netherlands?

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By: Dave Pooser, Director of Product Innovation 

It’s been a busy month since my first-ever visit to the Integrated Systems Expo in Amsterdam, but I’m finally getting a chance to put down some of my impressions from an event technology perspective. Trying to sum up a show the size of ISE is an impossible task – as someone who thought CES was a large show, the scale of ISE blew my mind. I’ve compiled a list of my biggest takeaways and trends I noticed—if you put together five different attendees and asked them to describe what they saw in the sprawling 14-hall show you’d end up with a modern-day version of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. That said, below are some of the sweeping themes I observed and some vignettes that struck me and stayed with me.

Themes from ISE:

Hologram effects were everywhere. Some vendors were showing off projection on gauze for a 3D effect, like the Hologauze Alford has used in the past or the Nebula™ Net that we recently added to our rental inventory; others were demonstrating the tried-and-true Pepper’s Ghost effect, and still others were putting their own spin on propeller-based LED effects like the Kino-mo Hypervsn. The hologram visual effects trendin the industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Transparent LED walls and flat-panel displays keep getting better. The transparent LED wall sector is in a state of evolution that makes now a rough time to own these items due to rapid obsolescence – but a great time to rent them because of the range of options to fit most budgets with your desired effect. Transparent flat-panel LCDs have yet to achieve the presence in the United States that they have in Europe but keep advancing on the technical front; their US presence seems likely to increase over the next year or two.

Accessibility for the hearing-impaired was a major focus. About 3 out of every 1,000 children in the US are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. The US market has lagged behind Europe in this area, largely due to the different legal environments, but events that are committed to fully including their hearing-impaired attendees have more tools available to them than ever before. From induction-loop systems that use the attendee’s hearing aid to traditional RF headsets to products that stream audio over WiFi to an attendee’s smartphone, there were a range of options to suit any size of event or budget.

Beyond these main themes, there were a few specific items that caught my eye:

Maior was showing their Omnia Studio TV lift. This floor stand for large flat-panel monitors combines a very stylish look (including a color-adjustable LED in the base) with a range of motorized motion including not only the typical tilt and pan but also 360° rotation – landscape to portrait and back through to an inverted landscape. It can be controlled via its own dedicated remote or by a smartphone app. The unit is expensive enough that it won’t become a common rental item any time soon, but for the right show and with content optimized for its capability it could be an eye-catching, attention-grabbing piece.

Speaking of motion, a smart signpost that uses LED text and moving arms to point the way to different locations around a show was a big hit among attendees. iGirouette from Charvet Digital Systems is another high-priced item that won’t be suitable for every show, but in the right environment it could add some high-tech cachet to the attendee experience.

Spherical LED units have always had an outsize visual impact, but that impact has been matched by an outsized budget impact that has restricted their use. DGX Professional Display was showing a spherical frame that snapped in individual panels for a soccer-ball effect that provides much of the visibility of a spherical LED at a fraction of the price.

Of course, there was a lot more to see at ISE, including some interesting wireless lighting equipment, software for measuring engagement via facial recognition, and new drone capability. Feel free to drop me an email at if you have any questions about my other ISE experiences or if you have some ISE observations of your own you’d like to share!




Alford Media