Review: ISE 2020 show draws 52,000 as it says farewell to RAI

posted on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 by Steve May

ISE 2020  Pro AV  Digital signage  home cinema 

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ISE 2020 said farewell to the Amsterdam Rai, posting healthy numbers for the four day trade show. After 15 years, the event now relocates to the Fira de Barcelona next year. 

While comparable tech trade show, MWC suffered multiple withdrawals, due to virus fears, and storms battered the region, ISE delivered a lively programme of conferences, keynotes and training. ISE’s co-owners, AVIXA and CEDIA, announced a cumulative total of 116,599 visits, with 52,128 unique attendees.

In the Opening Address, former Disney executive Duncan Wardle urged attendees to unleash their creativity.

Fourteen conferences in two venues addressed business strategies and technology trends. The line-up included the launch of the Control Rooms Summit, and the Smart Workplace Track as a sideshow to the Smart Building Conference.

Control rooms and control room equipment are on a growth curve, according to Futuresource Consulting. Equipped with video walls and hosting content management infrastructures, the sector is dominated by four main verticals driuving growth: Government and military, energy and utilities, and corporate and industrial.  

AVIXA’s Diversity Council Forum featured a keynote speech from BBC Creative Diversity Director June Sarpong, and in a session organised jointly with WAVE (Women in AV), the AVIXA Women’s Council was addressed by the Hon. Àngels Chacón, Minister for Business and Knowledge in the Catalonian Government.

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The AV Career Day, organised by AVIXA and CEDIA, attracted over 170 students and faculty from 12 different universities across five countries.

CEDIA also reported its most successful professional development programme to date, boasting an increase in uptake of over 50 per cent on last year. The organisation’s first Design & Build Conference was well attended.

The company also unveiled a new dual zone audio system, ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, as well as a new Airplay 2 compatible Micro Sub subwoofer for use with its ceiling speakers. It’s Control4 compatible, with more system support to come.

"CEDIA also reported its most successful professional development programme to date, boasting an increase in uptake of over 50 per cent on last year..." 


Attracting most integrator attention though was the Pro Wi-Fi Multiroom all-in-one in-ceiling speaker and amplifier, with Wi-Fi, Airplay, Chromecast and Bluetooth. It’s even WiSA compatible, allowing them to be used as Atmos speakers.

Pulse-Eight used ISE 2020 to show introduce a versatile new multizone amplifier and an HDBaseT 3.0 proof of concept. The Neo8A is an 8x10 matrix with audio breakout on the input, designed to be used with the brand’s audio multiroom preamps, the ProAudio8, ProAudio16 and ProAudio32.

Pulse-Eight also unveiled its ProAmp8 multizone audio amplifier. Features include 8 analogue inputs, and 8 output zones. Cleverly it can be used both for 5.1 home cinema and two channel, giving installers incredible versatility.

Intriguingly, Pulse-Eight also offered visitors to its stand an early look at HDBaseT 3.0, running a Playstation 4 remote play demo. HDBaseT 3.0 supports uncompressed 4k video 4:4:4, with zero latency issues.

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The event was a good one for Meridian. The company took two awards for its new DSP750 In-Wall Digital Active Loudspeaker in the Best of Show Awards, and the CE Pro Top New Technology (TNT) Awards.

Katy Bradshaw, Marketing Director at Meridian Audio, hailed the wins “a fantastic achievement.” Specifically designed and engineered for architectural installations and dedicated home theatres, the DSP750 loudspeaker is the company’s highest performing architectural loudspeaker.

The DSP750 boasts three new high-performance drive-units, Enhanced Bass Alignment, and a CLASS-M DSP engine that provides thermal and dynamic bass protection for detailed and accurate sound. An aluminium enclosure minimises unwanted resonances and colouration, while separate mid-range driver enclosures to eliminate interaction with the bass drivers, and Centre Elevation technology orientates the centre channel with the screen.

"Lithe Audio used to show to upgrade its in-ceiling Wi-Fi speakers. Its in-ceiling speakers have been updated to low latency Bluetooth 5.0 for an extended range..."


Lithe Audio used to show to upgrade its in-ceiling Wi-Fi speakers. New for 2020, it’s in-ceiling speakers have been updated to low latency Bluetooth 5.0 for an extended range.

Multiroom CI audio specialist AudioControl introduced its 16-channel X-Series Pre-Pro and receivers, the XR4, XR6 and XR8 receivers, suitable for Dolby Atmos theatres. The new hardware features a new web GUI. Joining the receivers is the X9 pre-processor which uses the new ESS Sabre 9038 pro DAC. At the show, it was partnered with the brand’s new 240W per channel G4 amplifier range. AudioControl also previewed new subwoofer amplifiers at the show.

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ELAC introduced a Bluetooth-capable IP Hi-Fi amplifier and TV loudspeaker range. The ISamp340, a TV Bluetooth-capable IP amplifier small enough to be mounted on the rear of a thin TV. This Dolby Digital solution also has an LFE output, for a subwoofer, and can be integrated into control systems, including Crestron, Savant and Control4.

ELAC also unveiled slim on-wall loudspeakers, which can be configured for horizontal centre of vertical left/right duties, and slimline subwoofers which can be mounted under a couch.

"Origin Acoustics presented its first Ambisonic outdoor speakers..."


Elsewhere, Origin Acoustics presented its first Ambisonic outdoor speakers. Its new exterior Bollard garden speakers, complete with ribbon tweeters, include an exterior soundbar, and line array enclosures. Also shown for the first time were a new commercial audio line, with pivoting silk tweeter.

Visitors to the Barco Reference Theatre at ISE 2020, had the opportunity to hear the new in-wall loudspeakers in action, together with Barco projectors. The theatre featured nine of Meridian DSP750 loudspeakers.

Outside the RAI, an ambitious projection mapping installation on the upper floors of the complex’s Elicium building provided a spectacular demonstration of AV tech for ISE attendees and for local passers-by.

Organisers report that during the show, over 950 exhibitors booked their stands for ISE 2021, reserving 82 per cent of the available ISE 2021 show floor.

ISE 2021 will take place at the Gran Via  Fira de Barcelona on  February 2-5 2021.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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