As the plane touched down rather bumpily at Leeds Bradford Airport, my thoughts once again turned to ISE and the grandeur of the Audio Visual Industries largest showcase really hit home.

Having spent 3 days at the event, I can safely say that my step count was well up, but was my interest in the latest technology peaked by anything that gave me the WOW factor.

The themes across much of what we saw was the same as in previous years, AV over IP and 4K (True 4K was the ultimate question though).

Was I wowed? Yes but of the enormity of the event again and the imaginative stands, but of the technology? Only of 1 thing – The Sony Crystal-LED display wall, but unless you have a few million spare that one is just a pipe dream…

So what and who did we see?



Day 1 saw us arrive in Amsterdam and head straight to the RAI.

NEC were our first appointment, and their stand really did wow, personally I would give them best stand at the show. NEC’s strapline was Impressions count and they certainly did. The technology was amazing.

First we were shown the PH3501QL 35000 Lumens, Full 4K laser projector, which weighed in at a whopping 169 kilo’s.

The new V Series Full 4K screens were then presented again providing a lasting impression with their vivid graphics and colours. The V654Q has a slim design and a brightness output of 500cd/m², ensuring your content is seen in the best possible light. The new low reflection anti-glare surface offers superior visibility under common light conditions.

The NEC InfinityBoard was on show in both 65” & 84” formats. This is a serious alternative to SurfaceHub and is equipped for video conferencing, creative brainstorming and collaboration. Ideal for ad-hoc workgroups in corporate, education and commercial applications.

With a full offering for LED, video walls and LED poster displays which were really quite impressive and functional there really is not much NEC cannot offer.

The evening, saw Universal host some of its customers and key suppliers at the Double Tree by Hilton, where several cocktails, dinner and some interesting conversation took place. A fantastic evening was had by all. It is always a pleasure hosting in Amsterdam, and our customers thought this was the best event yet.

Day 2 saw us back at RAI, ready for a full day of appointments and demonstrations.

Harman AMX were first on the list this morning with what appeared to be one of the largest stands, highlighting in very real terms how the equipment can be used in various scenarios.

Key highlights this year was the Acendo product range, which is finally shipping now. The manner in which this is used in a huddle space is both sleek and sexy and will suite any boardroom. Acendo consists of three elements, Vibe, Core and Book, giving you a complete solution inside and outside your meeting room.

Then came the buzz words AV over IP…. With Harman having a range of solutions to achieve the desired effects, they really have a solution for all.

AMX has been a market leader in Networked AV since 2008, and has introduced a range of 4K ultra HD products to keep their range at the forefront of the sector. Utilising existing network infrastructure to distribute both audio and video, Networked AV provides a low budget means of sharing information across a network, either in a building, across a campus or even across a continent. Infinitely scalable, and with a choice of encoders, decoders, audio transceivers, network video recorders, and IP windowing/wall processors, Networked AV provides a robust and secure solution that will comply with enterprise protocols.

Then onto Peerless another of our partners for a stand tour and to pick up passes for the - what transpired to be must be at party. Congratulating them on their award winning brackets the tour began. Peerless have a solution for everything, video walls, height adjustable mounts, the finger touch one is still my favourite and so practical in many situations. Outdoor kiosks finished up the line-up, with a rather sleek back to back kiosk stealing the light.

Phil Waterhouse showed us around the Crestron stand, where again AV over IP was a hot, hot topic and Crestron had a rather unique way of showcasing how their solutions was a cut above the rest with video scrolling and a timer indicating no time difference between HDBaseT and their NVX solution.

The Crestron FreeForm™ Presentation System was of particular interest. Designed to sit neatly behind a display screen, the CCS-FF-2 provides both a secure wired and wireless (via AirMedia) presentation system with auto-switching. No furniture, dongles, or new Wi-Fi® infrastructure are needed. Crestron FreeForm features built-in AirMedia® 2.0 wireless presentation capability, DM® and HDMI® inputs, HDMI out to the display, optional keypad or touch screen control from anywhere in the space, and auto-display on/off via CEC, serial, or IR. It displays a custom branded welcome screen on the room display, and when connected to Microsoft® Exchange, Office 365®, or G Suite™ software, space availability and meeting details appear as well. Now, even open spaces are searchable and bookable.

The latest version of AirMedia has been released for those utilising Bring Your Own Devise. The solution is faster, easier and more manageable and secure than others on the market. The Crestron Airboard, was also proving popular and a great way to share content remotely.

I nipped off to women in av at this point hosted by the AV Magazine and Clevertouch. A presentation was delivered on the lack of resource for the AV industry, and being an integrator we could fully concur with that. What was very apparent was the lack of understanding when it comes to apprenticeships. Universal AV hosts its own Engineering accredited apprenticeship which it has worked hard on to develop and is seeing this hard work pay off. It is good to see the industry starting to pay it the attention it deserves.

The final port of call on day 2 was Sony.

I have to say I was completely blown away by their Crystal-LED display wall. The clarity was unbelievable, but that is what Sony do; high end fantastic products. Once they were able to drag me away from this to look at the stand we saw, the new 12K Lumen Laser Projector aimed at the education market and lecture theatres. With WUXGA resolution, a relatively small footprint and a fighting weight of approximately 35kg, this could prove a real winner in the education space. An impressive piece of kit, which ships with a lens as standard and will be available before the summer installation period.

Vision Exchange is Sony’s active learning solution, providing a powerful solution designed to encourage collaboration in the classroom. Vision Exchange now comes bundled with Ubicast Lecture Capture software, which was being demonstrated to showcase the complete solution. Sony are already working with Universal AV and several Universities on such projects.

Their TEOS Managed offering was also impressive, it worked as an electronic asset register allowing for the client to manage, schedule and monitor content displayed across all networked screens and projectors. The solution works on 3rd party equipment, meaning an existing estate can easily be incorporated and effectively managed. TEOSManage integrates with the leading room booking solutions and could be used in conjunction with digital signage, providing customers with a messaging platform.

Day 3 and the last 4 exhibitors before heading back home.

I have to admit, we were starting to feel a little tired now, but we were back and queuing waiting for the doors to open on day 3.

Panasonic were our first port of call where we received a warm welcome and cup of much needed coffee before we commenced our tour.

First up the new 4K Professional display range, in a range of sizes all with fantastic picture quality.

Then onto the single chip DLP 12K lumens laser projector. The PT-RZ120 adds to the already impressive range of solid state projectors from Panasonic and comes in the same chassis and uses the same range of lenses as the existing award winning PT-RZ970. The projector provided excellent image quality, which boasting real maintenance free design with a dust resistant optical engine and no filter.

Next stop was Sennheiser and their new ceiling mounted Microphone, which was demonstration by using headphones outside the room it was in. The sound quality was second to none and the solution aesthetically pleasing in any room type.

Clevertouch were next with the new Pro Series IR Touch screen. This combines the functionality of a capacitive touch screen with the practicality and price point of the award winning IR solution. Once again, CleverTouch have underlined their credentials in this market space by producing another superb interactive screen.

Last but most definitely not least was Dalen TopTec, with their impressive furniture. We discussed how there has been a definite shift in the way in which furniture is used within the classrooms and open spaces and Dalen have come out on top with some unique designs and concepts. We are loving the Reverse Plectrum Coffee Table. Collaborative learning in education and the workplace is key and Dalen host solutions to meet every need you could imagine.

With that we waved a fond farewell to the RAI and made our way back to the Airport.

Was the show impressive? Most definitely Yes.

Was there any wow technology – For me Yes, I have already mentioned the Sony Crystal-LED display wall, but a wow for me is subjective and may not interest someone else.

Will we see anything radically change the manner in which we work – I do not think so? AV over IP has been around for a while, it is just getting better and more are adding product lines.

For Now and until next Amsterdam – Thank you…….