This February, a very frosty Amsterdam welcomed a record 65,000 AV professionals who descended on the RAI for the largest ever Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). As the first to span four days, many wondered whether Friday would be quieter, but the conference halls and our booth were full until the last second of the final day!

As one of the first trade shows of 2016, ISE presented an opportunity to reflect on the year ahead, allowing us to consider the trends we’re likely to see, and the overall direction of the industry.

Bringing Convergence to Life

This year’s buzz-term, the Internet of Things, could be heard around every corner, while the convergence of AV and IT was the topic of choice for many of the theater presentations. Graeme Harrison, Biamp’s EVP of Marketing, suggested we embrace this convergence and encouraged us not to be fearful of joining discussions outside of the AV industry. Our conversations with Intel, Cisco, GE, and National Instruments through the AVnu Alliance continue to demonstrate the numerous lessons AV and IT can learn from each other and further confirms the need to push AV to become an accepted and recognized part of the IT infrastructure.

Collaboration in smaller spaces

Another key topic was the growing concept of huddle rooms – an informal space in the office where people go to brainstorm, hash out new ideas, or simply drop in for a quick team catch up. In the next 10 years, there will be up to 50 million huddle rooms, and it’s up to the AV industry to ensure that we facilitate this new way of working with the excellent audio you’d expect in a more formal conference room. We spotted a number of products at the show aimed at the huddle space, not the least of which was our collaboration tool Devio: showcased for the first time at ISE. With a 360-degree beamforming mic, it carves the room into three different zones and tracks each voice. Rather than simply capturing the loudest, Devio ensures individual volume levels are optimized for everyone speaking. The result? Digital audio that replicates a real conversation.

Sophisticated, Yet Simple

Our main observation from the show was the need for technology to facilitate our working efforts – rather than complicate them. This applies to everything from easy plug-and-play solutions, the growing move toward wireless, and the demand for “invisible” technology that integrates so well into a room it fades into the background. Looking into the future: we hope meeting rooms that recognize who you are and which meeting you are attending are not too far away.

With ISE growing bigger each year, and another hall addition to be made for 2017, we can’t wait to see more of you at the RAI next February. Just remember to bring your hat and scarf.