ISE 2020 preview: From 8k and AI to interactive displays, the tech and trends to watch

posted on Thursday, 30th January 2020 by Steve May

projectors  Smart home  Pro AV  ISE 2020 


As the biggest show in the Pro AV calendar prepares to welcome more than 80,000 attendees, Inside CI with Futuresource Consulting looks ahead at what’s likely to dominate discussions at the kroket stalls and stroopwafel stands of Amsterdam.

One clear trend for this year's show is smart buildings, offering workers advanced lighting and heating control, say market analysts Futuresource Consulting. Employees can expect a shift from today’s open plan offices into working environments that integrate smart technology.

Meeting room booking systems that integrate into building management systems (BMS), immersive audio, voice and gesture control, and products using 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are all solutions that Futuresource expects to feature across the various show floors. An inevitable theme for collaboration technologies is expected to be Artificial Intelligence (AI). Ecosystem interoperability will be a key focus.

The control market is also about to get a lot more competitive, with a tide of second division vendors and suppliers entering the market. 

AMX Main

Epson ISE 2018-06

AV over IP will gain traction, as more vendors join the Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance or Dante’s AV Alliance, adds Futuresource. “There could also be an Application Specified Integrated Circuit (ASIC) from the SDVOE, with examples integrated into projectors, wall plates and other equipment. Cloud-based room control systems are expected to be a hot product at the show.” 

Visitors can also see more suppliers launching low bandwidth codecs like HEVC and AVB. 

Projection has always been a key technology area for ISE, and that’s not likely to change in 2020, despite growing competition from flat panels. Projection mapping is fast becoming ubiquitous. The new trend is for higher brightness and 4K in the high-end, while solid-state and connectivity will be a focus at the lower-end. Ultra-short throw and laser projection products will multiply, as all suppliers extend their ranges.

The rapid growth in direct view LED walls will continue to spread across the show floor. However, this year Futuresource is expecting a strong focus on sub-1mm displays, with a host of vendors expected to show 0.9mm, 0.7mm and even 0.5mm options. Less clear cut will be the terminology in use: MiniLED, MicroLED, X-in-1 and COB will enter the lexicon, but there will be little agreement on application.

Inevitably, 8K resolution displays will be a hot topic, just as they were at CES. “Still very much in its infancy for professional displays, 8K is becoming a key demonstration technology, highlighting applications where the extra detail could be appreciated and needed,” notesFuturesource.

"Of course, ISE isn’t just about video technology. Audio is also likely to have a good year, particularly with sound systems designed to serve theatres and stadiums..."

For LCD video walls, integrators can expect a continued focus on very small bezels, with Razor Narrow Bezels (RNB)where images are less obscured by the join.

Of course, ISE isn’t just about video technology. Audio is also likely to have a good year, particularly with sound systems designed to serve theatres and stadiums, as well as small venues, auditoria and lecture theatres.

Surface mount and ceiling speakers, often sought for retail refurbishment, hotel installs and large PA and background music projects, will abound. Such new developments will be welcomed as previous system drivers cool. Interest in multiroom audio has plateaued and smart home audio tech is already being taken for granted by many consumers.

“The show will also be important for brands aiming for the vast quantity of small businesses, bars and cafes that need the right balance between usability and sound quality. Watch out for the continued overlap of residential brands and the potential for consumer brands to impact this market,” says the market analyst.

When it comes to home theatre, 3D audio is now eclipsing conventional 5.1 speaker configurations. Integrators are all looking to offer clients Dolby Atmos solutions. But the show will serve as a launchpad of sorts for DTS:X Pro, the large theatre immersive sound format. DTS:X for the home was limited to only 11 main channels plus LFE, typically in a 7.1.4 configuration. However DTS:X Pro can support up to 30.2 channels, promising the ultimate cinematic experience in larger home theatres. 

Conversly, also look out also for a growing trend to use digital signal processing, rather than speakers, to create the illusion of 3D audio. DTS has produced an extremely adept, low cost virtual surround sound technology called DTS Virtual:X, which can be used to create a faux immersive effect with object-based audio, as well as conventional 5.1 and even stereo sources.

For residential sound system installs with budgetary or constructional limitations, soundbar solutions with Dolby Atmos and DTS:Virtual X are increasingly useful options to shortlist.

Key members of the Futuresource Pro AV team will be on the show floor throughout ISE 2020 and will be available to industry partners and press for meetings and to answer questions.

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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