ISE 2016 was full of trends, whether it be the fact that every device now ships with Power over Ethernet connection, or the focus on being consumer-friendly as well as installer-friendly.

In terms of commercial manufacturers at the show, many followed those exact same trends. CIE spoke to a variety of manufacturers, which all seemingly echoed the ‘simplicity’ of their recent launches.

Whether it was Canon’s latest projectors or Polycom’s ‘workplace of the future’ initiative, all the manufacturers touted new wares that didn’t always require the installer to be on site for hours on end.

Despite the simplicity however, many shared apprehensions of making it too easy; with some saying feedback from the industry was overwhelmingly against oversimplifying products.

Some of the manufacturers CIE spoke to however had a glimmer of hope for those installers who may fear lost revenue from simple devices. Polycom’s vice president, systems engineers, Andrew Hug, said that while some of its latest devices can be assembled in seconds or under an hour, that frees up time for the installer to work on other projects.

Canon’s European product marketing specialist, Colin Boyle, echoed that sentiment, saying that the company’s latest projector offers edge-blending technology so simple that any consumer should be able to pick up the remote and operate it. This should stop the countless calls from customers asking installers to come out and edge-blend their projectors because they’ve knocked them slightly, or had to move them to another room.

While those were two major trends of ISE 2016, the third was the fact that the typical 50/50 split between residential and commercial products finally gave way to a commercial onslaught. In fact, the self-titled world’s largest AV show had countless commercial product launches in 2016 – everything from projectors, video walls and conferencing solutions graced the show floor.

Once again Samsung reigned supreme in terms of square metres of floor space occupied.

The South Korean tech juggernaut took up two floors and a total of 1,415sqm of space in the Atrium. There it showcased its latest technologies in the commercial AV market, where it focused on everything from LED displays to OLED and mirrored video walls.

For 2016 Samsung’s big focus is set to be on LED. It’s a technology that is commonly utilised in outdoor installations, but Samsung is hoping to bring it inside.

At ISE 2016 the company showed off its SMART LED displays, which promise to deliver ‘impressive’ visuals at a fraction of the total operating cost of a traditional video wall.

In fact, Samsung is so confident in LED technology that it has changed its warranty programme while simultaneously launching a new reseller strategy.

In the LED space Samsung will have a variety of pixel pitch compositions available, ranging from 1.5mm to 2.55m, with the former being installed in PSCo’s showroom (Samsung’s first ever LED distributor) in the near future. Samsung also promises that all of its LED products utilise ‘top-tier’ diodes.

Despite the focus on LED, the company wasn’t quite ready to ditch more traditional video displays.

Samsung’s stand at ISE 2016 was littered with a variety of applications for traditional displays, alongside some new products that the company is keen to finally push. In previous years the manufacturer has shown off mirrored and transparent OLED displays, although they have simply been proof of concepts. This year the company is hoping to actually sell some of them.

To showcase its commitment to traditional displays, Samsung decided to break an industry record at ISE 2016; by bringing with it the world’s slimmest video wall, with a bezel-to-bezel design of 0.9mm on the upper and left sides and 0.5mm on the lower and right sides. These new products should help Samsung propel its commercial display market share even further.

Meanwhile, NEC used ISE to display solutions for just about any commercial installation.

Unlike Samsung which concentrated on its video wall and digital signage products, NEC had a lot more breadth on its stand; with projectors and digital tables all taking centre stage.

NEC’s business aspiration is to sell products that match the customer’s demands, rather than just the technology. That means everything from its video walls to its projectors have been built for purpose and come as a complete package.

Of its launches at ISE 2016, NEC showcased a video wall with a 1.8mm bezel design, an expansive line-up of laser projectors up to 35,000 lumens and an interactive wall utilising ultra-short throw projectors and infrared technology.

Amid the hordes of projector manufacturers at ISE 2016, NEC was hoping to stand out with its ‘Solid State Light Source’ technology, which eliminates the need to ever replace a lamp, removes any filter costs and promises an overall low total cost of ownership.

The manufacturer also had some quirky ideas in the corporate collaboration space. While it had an interactive wall which utilised ShadowSense touch technology, it also showed off two Microsoft PixelSense-like touch tables.

Both tables offered a 4K resolution and came in either a 65in or 84in screen size. Like Microsoft’s PixelSense, NEC’s tables are based on Windows, albeit with a custom skin running on top offering 10 multi-touch points.

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One stand that always managed to gather a huge crowd was Panasonic. It was hardly surprising either; every hour the company put on a show using robotic arms and three 98in 4K displays. It was created by events company XPION, which has previously used the same technology at the Geneva Auto Show with Volkswagen.

While its theatrics guaranteed a crowd, many of those catching the Robotic Experience also stuck around for the new products, which included a 1.8mm bezel video wall display, which Panasonic claims is the world’s smallest narrow bezel LED video wall, as well as the industry’s most compact 10,000 lumens laser 1-chip DLP projector.

While Panasonic is traditionally known for its display technologies, expect that to change in 2016. The company is keen to capture the growing projection mapping market, which Panasonic’s European projector marketing manager, Harmut Kulessa, claims is the largest growing segment in the projector market right now.

To showcase its commitment to that market, Panasonic showcased its highest brightness 3-chip DLP projector series to date, the PT-RZ31K. This projector series boasts both WUXGA and SXGA+ resolutions with each outputting 28,000 centre lumens of brightness.

It also introduced the industry’s lightest and most compact 10,000 lumens 1-chip DLP laser phosphor projector – the PT-RZ970 series.

Rounding off the projector announcements were the PT-RZ570, PT-FZ570 and PT-EZ590, which all boast 20,000 hours of maintenance free operation, flexible projector positioning with 360° installation, eco-friendly, mercury-free liquid cooling technologies and instant on/off operation.

While every manufacturer was going all-in with laser technology, Canon decided to concentrate on 4K. It is similar to the stance the company took at ISE 2015, where it decided to forgo launching a 4K projector, despite all of its competitors having one to show off.

Colin Boyle says that Canon isn’t in the market of being ‘just another projector manufacturer’. Instead, the company wants to do something unique with each technology iteration and that’s what it was offering with the XEED 4K500ST installation line-up.

This 4K projector has a resolution of 4,096 x 2,400, which is higher than just normal 4K. It’s also conveniently higher resolution than Canon’s competitors – not bad going for the company who was almost a year late to the race for 4K.

On its stand, Canon showcased two XEED 4K500ST projectors edge-blended using AV Stumpfl’s Wings Engine Raw. While AV Stumpfl’s made the edge blending effortless, Canon also packed in some technology of its own to make the whole process easier.

The 5,000 lumen lamp-based projector boasts curved imaging technology, which utilises corner focusing to ensure that images are as sharp on a curved screen as they would be on a flat screen. With traditional projectors this is typically quite challenging due to the constantly changing focal point.

While its curved screen technology is sure to impress those wanting to use the projector in a simulation or CAD engineering environment, for everyone else Canon has created what it calls the ‘smallest and lightest’ 4K projector currently on the market.

Canon wasn’t the only projector manufacturer with an enhanced 4K projector either.

Optoma stole the show with the world’s first 4K LED HLD projector, which was created in partnership with Texas Instruments and Philips. HLD stands for high lumen density; a technology designed to boost the brightness and colour performance of a standard LED projector by three times.

Visitors to Optoma’s stand at ISE 2016 were constantly huddled around the company’s prototype projector. Optoma was also keen to defend DLP from attacks from other manufacturers, stating that it is a technology used in 80% of cinemas around the world.

For many the highlight of Optoma’s stand was its F1 racing simulator, which combined ultra-realistic motion generation with a seamless curved display projected from three ultra-mobile LED ML750e projectors.

For CIE however, the highlight of Optoma’s offerings at ISE had to be its digital signage applications. Here the company showcased how projectors could go where typical digital signage displays couldn’t.

Projection Artworks showed off its Display Mapper software that applies animated content onto and around products.

At ISE 2016 Optoma showcased this technology by having virtual popcorn spill out and down the stand, while a watch came alive with geometric lines marching across its face.

While Optoma was busy drawing visitors with its F1 simulator and unique HLD projector, Sony used a giant dome to attract the droves of visitors to its stand.

Those who entered the dome theatre were treated to an immersive visual experience produced by two 5,000 lumens VPL-GTZ270 SXRD laser projectors edge blended to project content onto the interior curved surface of the structure.

The VPL-GTZ270 SXRD laser projector boasts some of Sony’s latest projection technologies, including a laser light source, high-bandwidth signal processing and a 4K resolution.

While the VPL-GTZ270 SXRD was Sony’s flagship product at ISE 2016, it wasn’t the only 4K projector on the company’s stand; after all, its goal for this year’s show was to showcase solutions that are ‘beyond definition’.

The VPL-GTZ1 was the other 4K projector that garnered a lot of interest from visitors to Sony’s stand at ISE 2016. That’s because of its ultra-short throw distance and ability to work in the most demanding ambient light conditions, when paired with an anti-ambient light screen.

Sony has already received a great amount of interest from installers wanting to use the VPL-GTZ1 UST laser projector in their projects – in fact, one company keen to install the projector is Bentley.

The claimed 20,000 hour virtually maintenance-free operation is likely to appeal to clients that demand round-the-clock projection, while the compact form factor and ultra-short throw package should please those who have limited room.

While 4K was a big focus for Sony at ISE 2016, the company also had a new slate of laser projectors.

The VPL-GTZ1, VPL-GTZ270, VPL-FWZ65 and VPL-FWZ60 were all unveiled at ISE and make up Sony’s expanded laser projector line-up. In total Sony now boasts a total of nine laser projectors ranging from 2,000 lumens, like the VPL-GTZ1, up to 7,000 lumens.

Behind every great projector is an equally brilliant screen, which is exactly what Draper was showing off at its humbler stand.

Draper is typically known for having a sizeable stand in hall one, but not this year as the company opted for a much smaller affair opposite the innovation zone.

This didn’t faze the company’s many customers however, who reacted positively to the intimate setting and the ability to get some face-time with the company’s many projection screens.

On the commercial side Draper had a variety of new projection screens, including the Swedish-inspired Freya, which joins the Valhalla line-up. While these products won’t be showing up in an IKEA showroom anytime soon, the Freya boasts an expansive range of options; including various screen sizes and surfaces. Installers will also be able to choose whether or not they want tab tension.

As a key feature, the screen is entirely hidden when not in use, with both screen and bottom dowel retracted in the recessed case. Moreover, Freya offers integrators the possibility to install the case first and the screen any time later, so the screen surface is not at risk of damage during construction work.

Alongside its new screens, Draper showcased a new planning tool designed to take the guesswork out of projection screen installation.

Draper’s Projection Planner allows installers to input information about the room size, projector specs, ambient light conditions and the functionality of the room and then receive recommendations for what screen should be installed.

This planner then allows the installer to print off the recommendations and take it to their customers, allowing their customers to see first-hand which screen is best for them – even if it might be one slightly out of their budget.

While a budget may matter to some, for those buying Lutron products it’s not as important – according to the company’s customer education leader in Europe and Africa, Sam Woodward, people buy Lutron products for the reliability and quality, not just for the price.

While he admits that some Lutron products are slightly more expensive than that of its competitors, the engineering going into them is far more impressive. For instance, while most lighting control systems will include sensors for detecting movement, Lutron has equipped its sensors with DSPs; a technology typically associated with speakers.

The reason behind installing a DSP in a lighting control sensor is because it gives it the necessary processing power to have some actual smarts. Sam says that Lutron sensors, unlike some of its competitors, do away with the ‘lights on dance’ that some will do when entering an office.

Hoping to capitalise on its reliability and ‘smarts’, Lutron unveiled several new products at ISE 2016 for the commercial sector.

One product it showcased on its stand was the Quantum Vue facility management software, which enables remote monitoring, control and optimisation of lighting in a commercial building for a tablet, PC or a smartphone.

The company also showed off new accessories for its Palladiom keypads, which are designed for the hospitality sector. These new accessories include ‘aesthetically compatible’ power receptacles, along with USB and Ethernet sockets.

Lutron also showcased myRoom, a family of guestroom systems for light, temperature and blind control. Among other features, it uses an advanced combination of sensors, door contact or door lock information to get information on whether a room is occupied or vacant.

Each system can be tailored to specific performance and budget requirements as myRoom can cater for mid-scale to luxury hotels and is available in two tiers: myRoom prime –  stand-alone system, independent of hotel management systems – and myRoom plus – that integrates with property management systems (PMS) and building management systems (BMS) for additional information on room and system status such as sold or unsold.

Elsewhere at ISE 2016 Toshiba was showcasing its latest solutions in the world of digital signage.

Toshiba only joined the digital signage market in 2014, later than most of its competitors, but it has already seen a great response to its line-up. At the company’s third ISE stand ever, it revealed that it had quadrupled its revenue and tripled its partner base in 2015, with it hoping to continue a similar rate of growth in 2016.

It’s committed to that cause as well. One of the big announcements from ISE 2016 was the fact that Toshiba had signed up AmRest, the Eastern European operator of KFC. AmRest will be rolling out Toshiba screens across hundreds of KFC branches across Europe – showcasing the biggest commitment to Toshiba digital signage technology to date.

To get the AmRest deal Toshiba worked with the company for two years to ensure that its solutions fitted exactly what the restaurant operator needed. It also leveraged the company’s ability to offer a one-stop-shop, where everything from software to hardware is packaged together.

When asked about what the company’s unique selling point was, Krzysztof Liz, head of sales Europe, says that the company wants to work with both new and existing customers closely. He believes that by creating a bond with the customer, rather than just giving them the highest margin, that customer should stick around – rather than opting to go elsewhere.

Krysztof also believes that Toshiba’s products offer the greatest value for money proposition – especially for customers who want low total cost of ownership and a high return on their investment.

Despite Toshiba’s rapid growth in the marketplace, the world of digital signage is still a busy place to be. While Samsung, NEC, Panasonic and more all had something to show off in this marketplace, none could quite compete with Sharp on resolution.

At ISE 2016 the company once again showed off its mind-blowingly detailed 85in 8K display. This isn’t the first time Sharp has shown off this display, in fact the company has a habit of bringing it out to wow attendees at various trade shows.

While Sharp admits that there is very little in the way of content filmed in 8K, the company says that it is focused on investing in new technologies and wants to be a leader in the sector. In fact, the company as a whole is growing, and continues to be profitable and invests those profits on R&D projects like 8K.

So where does it see its 8K displays? According to Sid Stanley, general manager visual solutions, 8K is ideally suited for luxury retailers where brands value colour. In fact, one brand that has already utilised an 8K display is Victoria’s Secret.

Also on display at the company’s stand was a new generation Sharp 4K wide gamut display, featuring an extended colour range, again designed for luxury retail signage. This 4K display has been combined with a new calibration solution designed to deliver more accurate colours.

ISE 2016 wasn’t just about visual displays and projectors however. In the unified communications hall and the Diamond Lounge, Polycom was showcasing what it calls the ‘workplace of the future’. Key to its message for 2016 were two products that stole the show at ISE 2016 – the Polycom RealPresence Trio and RealPresence Centro.

The RealPresence Trio is being billed as the world’s first smart hub for group collaboration. Designed as a cross between an iPhone and a traditional three-point conference phone, the system facilitates the transmission of voice and video data, as well as files for content-sharing.

Integrators looking for one of the simplest conferencing systems currently on the market may want to check out the RealPresence Trio, with its iPhone-esque UI and one-touch calendar integration. If a user knows how to operate an iPhone, then it’s likely that they’ll be able to pick up the Trio in no time at all.

While the Trio has been designed to be simple, a common theme amongst all the products shown off by Polycom at ISE 2016, it wasn’t the only theme to be showcased on the company’s stand. In fact, a simple UI played a very small part of the puzzle.

In terms of ease of installation, Polycom claims that the Trio can be installed in minutes, with a single Power over Ethernet connection being all that is required to get it up and running. There are a number of other connections for those wanting to take the more traditional route however, with Wi-Fi connectivity as standard, as well as Bluetooth, NFC and a USB port for connecting wired audio devices.

While the Trio is likely to be the product to see the most traction in boardrooms all over Europe, the company also showcased a solution that is already being put to good use by NATO.

The RealPresence Centro is the industry’s first collaboration solution purpose-built to put people at the centre of collaboration. Polycom says that it was built with instinctual human behaviour in mind – as people supposedly feel more comfortable collaborating in a round table environment.

Philips Professional Display Solutions chose to utilise the exhibition to reveal its new CMND Display Management system, offering control and content creation for both monitors and TVs – all of which can be used remotely from one central system.

Also new was the introduction of the Android OS to Hospitality TV and Digital Signage models, bringing with it faster processing power, easier installation and access to Android Apps, while the manufacturer also showcased its recently launched Ambilux technology for hospitality TV and digital signage markets.

Meanwhile, IP video solutions company, Exterity used the expo to demo ArtioSign, its solution enabling organisations to combine digital signage with IP video. ArtioSign enables businesses to stream TV and video alongside live news updates and tailored messages to strengthen their communications.

In addition to demonstrating its complete IP video product portfolio and launching an upgrade to the AvediaStream t5600 transcoder, the manufacturer also announced that with the launch of AvediaServer 7.3, Exterity IP video solutions now support Philips MediaSuite Hospitality SmartTVs. The Philips MediaSuite hospitality TVs aim to enhance the guest experience with full HD LED TV images.

Another company with big news at the show was Gefen, which introduced the 4K Ultra HD 8×9 Matrix Switcher into the market. This next generation switcher is designed to deliver centralised distribution of 4K video to any combination of eight displays over a single CAT5 cable and one local display with HDMI.

Compatible with the latest HDCP 2.2 protocol as well as HDCP 1.4 formats, the 4K Ultra HD 8×9 Matrix Switcher supports 1080p Full HD, 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA), 3DTV and Deep Color (up to 1080p resolution) as well as multichannel digital audio, including 7.1 channels of LPCM and HBR (High Bit Rate) digital audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, are also passed through.

Commercial systems integrators looking for high performance, lightweight alternatives to rack-mounted matrixes were also presented with Gefen’s new ToolBox 4K Ultra HD ELR Extender for HDMI (GTB-UHD-HBT2). The new product extends HDMI up to 150m using a single CAT-5e cable.

ZeeVee also had something to shout about thanks to the introduction of its new video distribution products, ZyPer4k CATx and ZyPerMX. The new ZyPer4k CATx expands upon the ZyPer4K platform, allowing users to switch and distribute uncompressed Ultra-HD (4K) video, audio and RS232/IR control signals leveraging off-the-shelf 10Gb Ethernet switching products, with support for CATx infrastructures.

ZeeVee says that the launch of the ZyPerMX is to help installers who have projects in new buildings that have been wired without traditional COAX cabling, but still want to provide an IP video encoding solution to deliver live TV and archived content over Ethernet networks.

Elsewhere on the show floor, Peerless-AV was launching a new generation of its PeerAir Pro Wireless AV System. With four inputs and the ability to multicast to up to six displays, Peerless-AV’s enhanced wireless kit streams full HD and passive 3D signals up to an extended 64m to any HDTV, projector or display.

“Our next generation wireless kit is a real problem-solving Plug and Play tool for installers allowing wireless streaming of HD content in applications where running cables is not an option,” commented Gordon Dutch, managing director, Peerless-AV.

In a breakthrough advance for digital AV signal distribution, AptoVision used ISE to release new reference designs for its BlueRiver chipsets enabling point-to-point HD video signal extension of up to 250m over CAT-x network cabling. 

“This shatters any previous record for digital video extension over CAT-x cables and will allow installers to use them for much longer distances than previously possible,” said Stephane Tremblay, CTO and co-founder of AptoVision.

Available on new reference designs for its BlueRiver NT, BlueRiver NT+ and new BlueRiver 400 chipsets, these distance specifications enable up to 250m/230m for HD video and up to 160m/150m for Ultra-HD/4K video on CAT-6a/CAT-5e cabling. 

Addressing chip-level integration in digital AV, the manufacturer also launched BlueRiver 400, which is claims is the first integrated chipset for processing and extending true 4K/60/4:4:4 AV signals. The new chipset incorporates Plethora, AptoVision’s newly announced engine for advanced audio and video signal processing, and delivers a signal extension range of up to 250m on CAT-x and 30Km on fibre cabling. Plethora provides broadcast-quality scaling, colour space conversion, frame rate conversion and several audio functions. 

Meanwhile, Brett Stokke, director of communications at RTI told CIE that the company was focussing on products that are currently available at ISE. These included the new Integration Designer APEX software, designed to dramatically speed up the installation process while maintaining the ease of comprehensive customisation, as well as RTI’s new intercom capability, which enables audio communication between RTI user interfaces and third-party devices via the standard SIP protocol (now available as a free firmware update).

Also on display was the WK2 water-resistant in-wall keypad, the KX1 in-wall keypad, the KX3 in-wall touch panel and lastly, the KX10 in-wall colour touchpanel.

“We are looking at simple, easy integration with popular brands like Nest, KNX and Lutron,” said Brett. “We are focussing on the complete control of these devices.”

 

RTS was also present at ISE, where it introduced its new DKP-4016 desktop intercom keypanel, combining HD colour displays and improved single-key operation – all in a modern design. The KP-Series is suitable for a wide range of intercom applications such as broadcast production studios, theatre and sports venues, houses of worship and outside broadcast trucks.

Biamp Systems was another manufacturer with good news on the show floor, announcing that its flagship Tesira line of digital signal processors has earned AVnu certification from the AVnu Alliance, the industry Audio Video Bridging (AVB) consortium.

With the release of firmware version 2.4.2, Tesira server-class products will be AVnu-certified. The manufacturer was also showcasing the recently launched Devio collaboration system for huddle rooms and small gathering spaces.

The addition of a new hall in 2017 will coincide with a new hall numbering system, which will be introduced into the RAI. ISE will return February 7-10 2017.

Read ISE Part 1 here.

 

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