ISE 2024 in retrospect

For Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), 2024 was both a record year and an anniversary. The twentieth edition of the leading trade fair for AV technology and system integration attracted more visitors and exhibitors to Barcelona than ever before. Our macom experts were once again among the more than 70,000 visitors from 162 countries this year. In seven technology zones with a total of 82,000 square metres of exhibition space, the latest innovations and solutions from the fields of audio, content production & distribution, digital signage & DooH, lighting & staging, multi-technology, residential & smart building and unified communications & education technology were on display. The most important findings and observations in retrospect.

The most important trends and topics

The AV market is becoming increasingly international. In addition to large companies such as Samsung, LG and Logitech, new players are constantly entering the market and bringing new ideas with them.

This year’s dominant themes included the future of hybrid collaboration, the importance of artificial intelligence in the AV industry and sustainability.

The industry is increasingly focussing on the environmentally conscious design of its solutions, for example in the form of using recycled materials and durable, energy-efficient products. In this way, the AV industry wants to make their contribution and is also becoming more attractive to customers of younger generations, who have higher demands and care for ESG topics.

Networked, smart system designs, cloud-based software applications and service-based approaches are also becoming increasingly relevant.

Simplicity is king

Due to the growing demand for digital collaboration in office buildings around the world, the changing requirements for working methods and processes and the sharp rise in the number of hybrid meetings, the topic of user-friendliness for end users is taking center stage for many providers. Many exhibitors are therefore increasingly focussing on solutions that are as easy to implement as possible, intuitive for everyone to use and come without complex functions. Even non-technical users should be able to hold meetings without having to rely on help and support.

All-in-one solutions are therefore very popular. They can be the right choice for many standard rooms. However, they are not always the best solution for providing the highest quality in individual cases. For more complex applications, special functions or specific spatial conditions, decisions must still be made on an individual basis. Ultimately, the aim should be to achieve high quality in every scenario.

UCC: flexibility and equal rights for remote participants in meetings are crucial

In the area of Unified Communication & Collaboration, no one will be able to avoid Microsoft Teams Rooms this year. Nevertheless, there are still alternative approaches and solutions that can be used to respond flexibly to different use cases.

Barco and Kindermann, for example, offer products that enable seamless switching between a room system such as MTR and a bring your own device/meeting (BYOD/BYOM) approach. The peripheral devices can be used both with the room system and with the user’s own end device.

For BYOM approaches, BYOM Dual Screen with DisplayLink driver is now a simple solution from Lightware or Inogeni to enable work with two screens in the room without the need for a docking station.

Logitech’s Project Ghost is a particularly innovative solution for immersive one-on-one meetings. The video booth enables direct eye contact with a life-size image of the person connected and a private atmosphere.

A particular concern when it comes to video conferencing and hybrid meetings is equal rights for remote participants in meetings. In order to better integrate them, manufacturers offer intelligent, networked camera systems that cover the entire meeting room wherever possible, automatically recognise people speaking and also keep an eye on other room media such as whiteboards when in use.

A common solution for this is the use of 360° cameras. As a supplement to the front camera on a display or a UC bar, they offer an all-round view of the entire room, whether placed on the table or suspended from the ceiling. The desktop and front cameras are linked. Suppliers include Neat, Logitech and Owl Labs.

Such applications are increasingly being supported by AI to increase productivity and performance before, during and after the meeting. Audio and video tracking, people recognition, easier meeting planning and automatic meeting protocols are just some of the ways in which AI can help with meetings. This requires smart products that communicate with each other.

One hurdle for UCC platforms continues to be the interoperability of platforms. There is increasing collaboration on joint solutions – even between actually competing companies, for example joint meeting room solutions from Cisco, Samsung and Microsoft. The rapid change in requirements and rapid technological development will certainly make such collaborations necessary and helpful for the entire industry in the future in order to bring together the best solutions for customers.

Popular displays in 21:9 format, transparent and with LED technology

The 21:9 screen format is particularly suitable for using the Microsoft Front Row feature and is therefore enjoying great popularity again this year. However, the special nature of the application requires large dimensions and restricts the maximum number of seats in the meeting room. In addition to displays with a screen diagonal of up to 105 inches, manufacturers are therefore also focussing heavily on projection technology and LED walls in this context.

LED is once again prominent in general. All-in-one LED walls ensure simple installation at increasingly favourable prices due to high availability.

A particular eye-catcher at the trade fair were LED walls around corners or curves, which create very special visual effects with their special format. Aumovis also exhibited moving, self-propelled LED platforms. Even more impressive were the transparent displays and LED nets that also adorned the window front at the trade fair. However, the application scenarios presented were not always convincing.

Less spectacular, but practical and with almost no energy consumption, were colour e-paper displays, which are used in digital signage, for example.

AV experiences and immersive spaces

One aim when using AV installations is to create an immersive experience. Not only in meetings, but also in the retail and entertainment sectors. Immersive spaces were also on show at ISE. Walk-through rooms with LED walls, floors and ceilings or AR/VR applications are visually impressive, for example for exhibitions or virtual productions as an alternative to green screens. However, the application scenarios for this topic are often still very specialised and more of a niche.

ISE 2025 can come

ISE 2024 was also a complete success for us. As a leading AV consulting and engineering company, the impressions of such an industry event with the latest innovations and contacts to the most important industry participants and customers are of great importance in order to keep our expertise up to date, analyse and critically question trends and products and inform our customers individually about the best possible solutions in their projects.

We are already looking forward to ISE 2025. If you would like to delve deeper into all topics relating to AV technology and make your digitalisation projects a success, do not hesitate to contact us.

Author: Felix Niedrich, Editor macom GmbH