CEDIA interview: What to expect from Integrated Systems Europe 2014

posted on Thursday, 30th January 2014 by Steve May

CEDIA  Training  ISE 

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Integrated Systems Europe 2014 is nearly upon us. So what can custom installers and integrators expect to see at this year's show? To learn more Inside CI quizzed CEDIA Region 1 Executive Director Wendy Griffiths about this year's expo (CEDIA shares co-ownership of the event with Infocomm). Not only did we talk tech and trend but mused on how to get the most from any visit. Our chat also threw up a wealth of fascinating statistics about the current state of the CI business…

Every year, ISE manages to deliver some surprises. What do you think will be the big talking point at this year's event? 

Wendy Griffiths: IP and wireless networking. IP has become the default technology for communication within the home. It offers a unique combination of widespread connectivity, scalability and universal appeal that no other connection method comes close to. Building a well-planned and flexible network in the home is the most important electronic provision to be added to new homes! 

But there's one area of IP networking that causes more heartaches than any other, Wi-Fi. Unlike wired networks, wireless connections can be tricky to troubleshoot and sometimes appear to have a mind of their own! CEDIA training courses can help visitors to the show get to grips with these increasingly important areas for the smart home integrator…

How about new standards and connectivity issues? That's a perennial hotspot...

Griffiths: HDBaseT technology is revolutionising the market for AV distribution. This signal platform delivering HDMI, RS-232, IR and Ethernet over a dedicated single CAT cable infrastructure. Installers are eager to find more products which feature HDBaseT connections so I expect that we will see a number of these being launched at ISE.

4K Ultra HD is another major trend in the industry. We expect companies to be making a lot of 4K noise. We've recently released a white paper on this issue to help installers get their head around the subject.

Are we likely to see a higher profile for smart home/smart building technologies? It's beginning to look like the sector is gaining traction…

Griffiths: Yes. The growth of ISE is evidence of this. Last year the show attracted a record-breaking 894 exhibitors and 44,151 attendees! We expect this figure to increase further. Our consumer and industry research supports this view, with 91 per cent of consumers stating they aspire to have whole house control or automation system.

Our market research reveals that the average projected turnover for CI companies in 2013 is expected to exceed the £1m reported in 2012. Another significant finding showed that in 2013 the number of individuals employed as Home Technology Professionals in the UK has increased 12 per cent year-on-year to over 11,250. This growth points to greater market confidence - and higher 2013 sales for the residential custom installation industry as a whole. It's also reflected by the CEDIA Region 1membership, currently standing at 589 across the Region - that's an all-time high. The smart home sector is in good shape.  

Traditionally residential and commercial AV have been two distinct disiplines. But are the lines blurring between commercial and residential smart home technologies? ISE has fast become the biggest CI show in Europe, despite acres of digital signage…

Griffiths: Yes, I believe that to be the case. While CEDIA itself focuses on the residential market, ISE has grown into the largest European show for the professional AV and electronics industries across the residential and commercial space.

It's becoming clear that many of the brands and companies which participate at ISE - whether manufacturers or AV system integrators and installers - cross-over the two sectors, with a growing number of organisations showcasing products and demonstrating the skills and expertise that you need to work effectively in the commercial and residential arenas. There's already a crossover in installations such as boutique hotels.

This all sound very encouraging. So what opportunities could ISE 2014 open up for system integrators hungry to diversify?

Griffiths: For CEDIA, the main focus of the show is education and communication. ISE provides the perfect opportunity to brush up on existing skills and broaden technical and business knowledge, as well as share with peers. All the CEDIA staff will be in attendance, as this is our main platform for the year, so it's a good opportunity to catch up with existing members from around the world as well as talking to those people new to the industry or interested in CEDIA membership.

This year's CEDIA education programme features Home Cinema Design Workshop; Technology and Consumer Trends; The Art of Project Documentation; Designing Residential Energy Management Systems; Remote System Access; Project Management Skills and Social Media for Business. A number of new courses have been introduced this year, including Let's Make Money, Residential Networking, 4K Video Compatibility and HDMI System Design and Standardising Your Business Model. 

Visitors to ISE will also have the opportunity to take CEDIA's EST1, ESD2 and Residential Networking Certification examinations. In addition, we will be supporting the ISE Residential Solutions Theatre (you'll find it at 7-W180) with a series of drop-in 30 minute sessions taking place every day of the show.

Finally, can you share your top three tips to help visitors to get the most out of their visit to ISE 2014?

Griffiths: Review the outstanding education programme available at the show and book places in advance on your chosen courses!

Plan your visit effectively before you go! ISE is a huge event and pre-planning using the iseurope.org website and the tools available there will really help you make the most of your trip.

Plan, plan, plan! If you are sending multiple staff, come up with some kind of reporting document whereby your staff can split up and then compare notes at the end of the event.

For more on CEDIA Region 1, visit our resource page here. Information about the 2014 ISE show can be found here.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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Posted by Darren Shear on 31st January 2014, 7:13 PM
Great interview LOOKING forward to ISE 2014 the count down begins......

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