ISE 2020: 'Doei Amsterdam!'

Charlotte Brown

As ISE said its final ‘Doei’ to Amsterdam, our Pufferfish team were again showcasing our engaging tech amongst the world’s biggest names in the Pro AV sector. See our highlights from this year’s conference and XR Summit, and we’re already excited for ISE to hit Barcelona in 2021!

And just like that, the final year of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) in Amsterdam is done and dusted! After 15 years of innovation, product launches and collaboration, the mammoth show will find its new home in Barcelona in 2021. While the show started out as just a showcase for the latest technology, it has since evolved into a central hub for the world pro-AV scene, and is now renowned for sharing ideas and collaboration in the AV industry and beyond.

While it appeared Covid-19 dampened attendance this year, we were still thrilled for the many that did show up, especially considering Mobile World Congress suffered a different fate due to the virus, being cancelled during ISE. We know MWC typically offers a similar makeup of technology heavyweights and attendees to that of ISE, with MWC being specifically known for new mobile launches, but to see ISE still thrive – even braving the powerful Storm Ciara, cancelled flights and snowy conditions – was a positive sign. It is expected that ISE 2021 in Barcelona will actually see the benefit of an increase in numbers of attendees too, and you can consider that a victory for a show moving venue and country.

This does beg the question however, will the growing Coronavirus see a slowdown in global trade shows, and therefore effect the technology sector? Will we get the opportunity to launch new innovations with industry thought leaders, as the likes of MWC encourages? Well we’re pleased to report that Sony has confirmed it will still go ahead with the launch of its new Xperia mark II in early Spring. As for the Hawaii P40/P40 Pro and the Nokia 10 we have yet to see a date… They appear to be waiting to see what other companies do before hosting their own MWC replacement launch events. So, watch this space on the Covid-19 vs Tech front! But for more detailed highlights of ISE 2020, please see below.

ISE, Tech Highlights:

This year, attendees had the chance to see our world renowned PufferTouch2+ on stand with our projection partners (and show sponsors), Barco. Their thrilling stand drew in crowds off the show floor, with their crisp content bringing walls to life, their artsy projection mapping using not just one line of projectors (you heard that right!) but a scaling range of sizes and specs from their projector range. The result was an eye-catching, quality and totally stand out booth. And while LED has been a strong feature at ISE over the past few years, projection offers accuracy and optical illusion that LED just cannot match; and Barco are at the helm of these sensory projection innovations.

A new addition to the Barco projector offering made its debut at ISE 2020 - the smaller scale UDM (Yes, smaller scale!). Weighing less than 50kg, it is the lightest 22k projector you will find, but don’t let its size fool you, it still has all the quality and brightness of its larger scale friends. Plus, it will ensure you save you on shipping, it will save you on installation time, and ideal for media and entertainment sectors, it will enhance your projected content. What’s not to like?

Another highlight this year was Samsung’s The Wall; Their new luxury multi-media display aimed at home and business use. The MicroLED display comes bespoke, you heard that right - size doesn’t come as a standard, nor does shape. These dynamic displays are tailored to suit the end user, meaning they can be personalised to any environment. The Wall features MagicINFO, Samsung's very own server technology that lets you create and schedule bespoke content to engage employees and wow customers. The durable wall is built to withstand high traffic areas with peak brightness and colour contrast… and quite frankly, be a game changer for personal and professional use.

Other shout outs go to Novaline, who work across events, retail and corporate spaces with their dynamic holograms. The technology creates captivating holograms for a number of corporate clients around the world, and even includes gesture control – we are officially in the future. The technology offers a perfect balance of transparency, image quality and wide viewing angles.

I want one. Immediately.

In terms of the collaboration space this year, we also saw our friends at Igloo Vision partner up with AI-SPL (digital workspace transformers), combining the VR expertise of Igloo and the global reach AVI-SPL have to offer. The collab’ has meant that any office space can evolve into an immersive workspace irrespective of size, shape or dimensions, for teams to collaborate. Showcased on stand with a 15x8 foot meeting space, it featured immersive content and total WOW-factor. Their use of 360° videos and interactive presentations demonstrated how teams using these workspaces can interrogate data. Collaboration is where the future of tech is moving, and with this commitment to the corporate space and ensuring teams can innovate in such encouraging ways, the future looks bright!

Speaking of innovations… the past year has allowed us at Pufferfish to reflect on how we can provide better value to our clients in the platform we offer – not just trade shows, but experiential platforms, and in telling stories to people all across the world, young and old. Roll on the release of our PufferTouch2+ MOBILE featuring lightweight surrounds, and of course wheels to make movement from the office lobby to boardroom easy. We are all about creating a platform for our clients to tell one story to the next, and the latest in our product offering allows no restriction on where or how those stories can be told. And ISE 2020 was the ideal place to launch our MOBILE solution, to an audience of industry leaders.

The feedback? Wheelie positive…

XR Summit, Highlights:

The XR summit is an annual B2B conference run by ISE and always focuses on exploring the latest in virtual, augmented and mixed reality industry strategies, technologies and solutions. And with such a smorgasbord of new tech on offer, it’s always a must attend for our CTO and co-Founder, Will Cavendish.

Due to Storm Ciara (one of the many we had in the UK this February), Will’s journey to ISE included multiple flight cancellations and a short stop in Northern Ireland which meant he missed the first few speakers; one of whom was Hilary Mcvicker, our good friend at Elumenati, discussing her view on Spatial XR providing a social and collaborative way to experience immersive content, while also solving some of the practical challenges of deploying XR at scale. A philosophy shared by Pufferfish. Our innovations always stem from the idea that experiences are always better when shared.

Another noteworthy presentation was the panel discussion on virtual production. Centring around empowering Broadcast Media with XR, the presentation was about innovators exploring how XR is impacting workflow and production to deliver AR and MR within broadcast, film and live production environments. The talk included the likes of Nina Salomons - Filmmaker, XR Creative and Producer (just to name a few!) - who has worked in the VR space since 2015, and is a leading co-founder of the ‘Women in the VR’ meetup group. As an XR journalist she has worked on creating and developing immersive technologies for various companies, and current projects include bringing VR into UK prisons and UK immersive film events, along with working on her own VR film. See more on Nina here.

Another takeaway from the panel discussion was that all evidence points to younger audiences having shorter singular attention spans. Instead we see multi-screen viewing as the norm, distracted consumption – aka watching TV whilst looking at Facebook or Instagram on tablets and smartphones. For Pufferfish this draws a focus on our need to support multiple content channels to provide an enriched media experience.

A key topic of the summit was one of the biggest challenges in the industry - The skills gap. XR is a young industry with limited new talent feeding into the sector currently, and that is down to people not recognising the career opportunities within the scene and instead focusing on more established industries, like gaming. Part of that challenge for the industry is trying to understand what XR is. Ultimately that’s hard to understand without putting on a VR headset, reinforcing our philosophy at Pufferfish of simplicity and about reducing the need for headset experiences.

Other topics of discussion from the summit came from the Keynote speech, delivered by Amelia Kallman. A leading London futurist, speaker and author, Amelia regularly speaks about the impact of new technologies on the future of businesses, and in turn our lives. She also specialises in the future of retail. Whether it is location-based entertainment or workplaces, integrating XR technologies into any environment will bring new opportunities and challenges; but either way, it is a combined effort to sculpt the future of what the XR industry looks like.

Thank you to the experts at Barco for having us on stand again, and thank you to all those who attended the event and saw our PT2+ in action. Thanks also to our friends at Global Presence Alliance (GPA) for their ongoing exuberance for all things Pufferfish.

It was another inspiring year at ISE for our team, and we thoroughly look forward to ISE 2021 in its new Spanish home… Hola!

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