The topics of the last part of the macom expert review ISE 2018 trends are AV management and room booking systems. In addition, we venture an insight into the significance of ISE as a source of inspiration for the event sector and event technology with our colleagues from macomNIYU and finally we give our expert opinion on ISE 2018 and its significance for the implementation of digitalisation projects.

ISE trends AV management


The volume of AV management solutions at this year’s ISE was remarkable. There were solutions from new and old suppliers presented. The increase in solutions shows how important the topic of monitoring of AV hardware has become. Manufacturers such as Panasonic, QSC and Sony presented solutions however, some of these systems are only intended to manage their own products.

There was a move away from hardware based solutions to full software approach however whilst products are integrated over the IP network many still use proprietary protocols. This can mean that the integration of third-party manufacturer products can still require a significant programming effort.

We had the distinct impression that many manufacturers were launching their own tool to gain experience in this area and to strengthen their own solutions.

There was comparatively little news from big providers of AV management systems. It does seem that many are exploring management but many innovations did not seem to be fully developed. There were interesting approaches with some smaller manufacturers, for example with Pinnaca, who presented AV management as a pure cloud service.

Recommendation of the macom experts

AV management system solutions are increasingly using standard-IP protocols and are increasingly open to interoperability between manufacturers without proprietary hardware. Cloud solutions are increasingly being offered, not as a replacement, but as an alternative solution to an existing on premise server solution. The licensing models are still dominated by the typical AV style one-off sale. It remains to be seen whether this will be replaced in the future by the IT-typical monthly / annual billing.

Which solution is ultimately the right one depends on the individual use cases and AV strategy. Every AV management system provides different features, views, interfaces etc. The selection depends for example on which information is needed, who in the company is to work with the system and whether the management is intended for all locations or only for local applications and how the AV systems are to be supported.

ISE trends: room booking systems


This year’s ISE had – with some exceptions- little to offer. Two of the big specialists Condeco and Evoco were under-represented and only present via dealers and SI partners. Manufacturers offering a wider range of products, such as Crestron, AMX or Sony did present room booking solutions, however these mainly serve only to complement the portfolio and have few unique selling points.

The exhibitor easescreen from Austria was an interesting bright spot. As a software manufacturer in the digital signage sector, they presented a comprehensive solution for room booking for the first time. In addition to integrated software solutions, they also offered interesting hardware components utilising various display manufacturers, in particular, very cost-effective and energy-efficient e-ink displays which are now moving from simple goods labelling to electronics discounters and on into the office environment.

Recommendation of the macom experts

As always, the appropriate solution depends on the use cases strategy and the available budget.

For a smaller number of meeting rooms the use of booking and signage systems can be cost prohibitive whereas for the management and the efficient operation of conference and meeting facilities spanning across many countries, buildings and floors, a room booking system is essential. It is also possible to link the room booking system with the digital signage and building services systems as part of your smart building deployments.

What was missing at ISE this year were real integrated systems with an answer to the question of intelligence in space, and how that intelligence is designed in order to add real value? These include, for example, an intelligent connection to the TGA or occupancy sensors, which release the room if it is not used. This is especially useful in companies whose meeting rooms have a high utilisation. The individual intelligent technologies for this are available, but not in one integrated and intuitive package.

ISE trends for the event industry


Finally, let’s scrutinise what ISE has to offer the field of temporary installations and the event industry.

For our colleagues at macomNIYU, ISE is always a source of inspiration. The show is a good overview of the opportunities media technology offers and where the industry is moving. Obviously not everything on display can be utilised in the event industry.

The event industry has much higher demands on a robust mechanics but it is a good show to gain inspiration and see interesting novelties that can also be used for temporary installations. There were interesting solutions in the areas of projection, LED and displays. Christie, for example, presented a new solution for auto calibrating multiple soft edge blended projectors. The issue of chip-on-board LEDs is also relevant for events in the medium term, OLED displays again present outstanding opportunities for spectacular installations.

The topic of IP-based signal transmission (covered in our previous report) was of great relevance especially those with high transfer rates – 10 GBit. Event planners and consultants are used to this bandwidth from the broadcast sector and live events where latencies play a major role as audio and video must be absolutely synchronized. It’s definitely an advantage, bandwidth does not depend on corporate networks or corporate IT as separate event networks can be implemented. However, something that is important are the connectors, which have to be robust!

Recommendation of the macomNIYU experts

The topic of data transport is increasingly developing a momentum of its own and it is easy to identify the evolution of reliable IP solutions at this year’s ISE. Temporary installations are currently one step ahead of fixed installations in this regard. In the near future, we expect reliable 10 GBit systems to become the norm for the event industry, enabling signal transmission and real signal management. You can already see first examples of completely IP-based OB vans from the broadcast sector. For the event industry the challenge is to find robust everyday solutions that can stand the constant set up and dismantling.

This year’s ISE also illustrated that the know-how of the specialist planners is becoming increasingly important due to the wide range of possibilities. Only by knowing what solutions are available can you plan and use them. The importance of having this knowledge also applies to systems and solutions for the virtual modelling of events, their production and the production processes.

In order to guarantee that this knowledge is deployed end to end throughout an event it is becoming more and more important that the person/company who runs an event also plans it. It is still often the case that in terms of technology, the event planners are dependent on the products the big event rental suppliers are offering. This also means in order to be innovative the AV planner often faces the additional challenge of pushing the rental companies to invest in new technologies!

macom expert conclusion ISE 2018


The big question at the end of our trend overview for ISE 2018 is: What have we learned? Certainly the realisation that the industry has taken a step forward in some areas, for example usability. Many manufacturers seem to have finally understood that only products that can be operated easily by the users can generate added value!

There were several examples of manufacturers focusing the functions of their solutions on specific use cases and in some cases adapted the software-specific user interfaces to enable easier operation. Many products were presented with a direct reference to specific use cases, especially in the digital reality space. There is also an increase in manufacturers opening their systems out to third-party providers.

IP has finally arrived! And will never again leave the AV industry! Indeed, we believe that IP signalling and the embedding of all AV devices in IP networks will transform the industry. Anyone designing high-end AV systems in the future will have to do using an IP based solution requiring company networks to be prepared to supply the necessary bandwidths for these systems. This will have consequences for systems integrators support providers. However, what is urgently needed are AVoverIP standards that make products and systems compatible with each other just as users already have from the IT industry! The AV industry needs to pay close attention and implement quickly.

The integration of AV systems will increasingly require decisions at the strategic level. AV centric collaboration and co-working systems are increasingly having a direct impact on the success of business models and thus of entire companies. Adding to this is the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of technical solutions it becomes more and more important to make decisions based on specific use cases. Taking this strategic approach does take more time but brings demonstrably better results.
Purchasing AV solutions without adequate impartial advice and processes in place to determine the correct solutions for your needs is a game of chance. Since not every solution works out of the box and may have not work with other selected products, solutions need to be tested and run through PoCs in order to be adapted to meet the identified use cases. Decision-makers really have to take these important factors in to account and ensure they have a defined plan coving all the disparate areas of AV and the areas it affects.

We are curious to see how our identified trends will develop in the next year and are looking forward to visiting ISE again in 2019 and reporting back to you.
If you have any questions about these trend reports or need more detailed background information on any or all areas in our reports please don’t hesitate to contact us. macom’s engineering experts and AV consultants are always happy to assist you.

(Author: Martin C. Wagner, marketing manager macom GmbH)


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