Chilly Amsterdam, Warm Welcome
ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) 2012 was once again located at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam. Over 40,000 residential and commercial integrators attended from all over Europe as well as parts of Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Several halls in the show are dedicated to residential-solutions vendors, an area that continues to grow every year.
This is where CEDIA located its headquarters. Categories this year that received the most interest were 3D solutions, signal routing of HDMI, IP-addressable products, high-resolution display devices and designer-friendly/invisible speakers. The European customer demands excellent design sensibilities and ergonomics, so products need to look and perform at a top level.
Commented AudioControl’s Chris Kane, “Our focus components were the Maestro M4 theater processor and Concert AVR-4 theater receiver, which both support 3D formats. Additionally we demonstrated our new Architect Model 210ES amplifier, which has recently received Energy Star certification. While Energy Star certification is “the brand” in the U.S., the standards they follow of low-power draw during standby modes are mandated by the EU in many European countries. The Architect Model 210 ES draws less than 1 watt in standby mode, which makes it ideal for these standards.
“The European economy was a topic of discussion, especially Greece and Italy. With that said, most of the residential integrators I spoke with were fairly upbeat about their business and I met with several integrators from Australia and South America as well.”
Crestron demonstrated a wealth of products to record-breaking numbers. The international sales force showcased how DigitalMedia remains unparalleled in its speed and capability, and visiting integrators commented on how it is still the go-to tool in systems integration.
The Crestron Labs showcase offered visitors a sneak preview of what technology is in store for the future. Crestron’s R&D team hinted at some truly remarkable, imminent technologies integrating with popular consumer electronics devices. Keeping tabs on the 40,000-plus visitors was no small task. Crestron enjoyed more than its fair share, with over 1,000 leads generated across the three days, cementing ISE as the most important showcase of Crestron technology within the EMEA region.
Commented Desiree Webster, marketing manager Nuvo Technologies, “ISE 2012 proved yet another great opportunity for NuVo Technologies to engage with customers from all over the world, while introducing our latest developments to the market. This year, NuVo proudly displayed the WA40, a 40-watt in-wall amplifier that is perfectly suited for classrooms and light commercial applications. With two hard-wired rear inputs, as well as readily accessible front inputs for easy source additions, and a simple-to-use, portable IR controller, the solution can accommodate any classroom with flexibility and pristine sound. Also, recently Energy Star-qualified, the WA40 offers ease and power, with superb efficiency.
Draper took the spirit of sport and fair play to the show with the theme, “The Draper Games.” Draper’s medal-worthy lineup included the company’s new tab-tensioned viewing surfaces. Every Draper tab-tensioned screen surface (including the tabs) is now CNC cut as a single piece, and the tabs are folded and RF welded. The result is a much stronger tab with no possibility of separation. Draper’s international team also showed off the company’s wide array of motorized lifts for projectors and other AV equipment, including the ScissorLift, with sizes up to 28’ and a 350 pound lifting capacity.
Combining forces at ISE was CAT (California Audio Technology) Audio, CINEAK Seating and TK Living. Commented Andy Willcox, international director of sales and business development, Latin America, Asia & Pacific Region, Residential Electronic Systems Contractor channel, “ISE Europe 2012 was a very powerful event for the CINEAK Global team. We launched some leading-edge new products, including our Cosymo modular lounge product with the incredible Armani Casa fabric collection, our Sienna Zero Gravity lounge chairs, the new, sleek Ferrier motorized recliner and our new version of the Fortuny Deluxe Edition, featuring the finest leathers and unique wood finishes available in the industry. Add the new motorized headrest option and our Strato, Fortuny Deluxe and Nero seats and the arsenal of world class products was complete. Please check the new collection out at www.cineak.com.”
Added Brian Barr, of CAT, “We showcased our awesome $110,000/channel In-Wall Loudspeaker model # CAT MBX 1000S88S111111. Armed with (3) 22” aluminum subwoofers, (2) 12” subwoofers, (2) 8” mid-bass drivers, (2) 5.5” mid-range drivers and (1) 1” tweeter, these ultra high-performance proprietary CAT MBX drivers deliver spectacular speed, accuracy, detail and musicality in large-scale rooms that can seat between eight and over 100. CAT’s engineers can design CNC custom loudspeaker enclosures (various length, width, height, angles, notches, etc.) that allow designers, architects, builders and homeowners to “fit” this loudspeaker into any wall, cabinet or room.”
TK Living presented a collection of finely crafted architectural accessories and elements designed for home theater and other home-entertainment environments. The collection reflects the work of Theo Kalomirakis, the pioneer and leading authority in custom home-theater design. It features exciting and innovative specialty products such as acoustically transparent designer fabrics, unique architectural lighting fixtures, luxurious carpet and a variety of one-of-a-kind accessories that include poster displays, decorative speaker grilles, exit signs, theater-door hardware and more. The collection draws heavily upon Theo’s own architectural and design portfolio as well as the work of the design pioneers who inspired him. They add the finishing touches to the complete home theater or entertainment environment experience.
Polk has been exhibiting at ISE since 2009 and Al Baron, product line manager, has plenty to say about the event, “We have seen a steady growth in both show attendance and, more specifically, interest in our brand and our latest products. This year certainly was no different. In fact, we not only saw more salespeople representing a wide variety of distributors, but their customers were out in full force as well, giving us significantly more opportunities to present our product line than in years past.
“This year’s ISE was particularly upbeat, even more so than last year, which itself set a high bar for enthusiasm. Coming off the frenetic energy of CES, ISE is lean and focused. Overall, it was one of the most positive events we’ve attended in some time.
“In terms of product interest, I was not surprised to see our Architectural line once again stealing the spotlight. Polk’s Vanishing Series of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers are popular in Europe where building design gives integrators less space and fewer installation options than they have here in the states. Likewise, our SurroundBars were a big hit, as was our Atrium line of outdoor models. (Polk’s first Atrium speaker designed for the commercial market, Atrium 5c, received the lion’s share of attention.)
“Even products that are not typically associated with the installation channel proved to be a big draw to our display. We met a lot of audiophiles who were excited to see the LSi M reference series making its EU debut, and our UltraFit and UltraFocus headphones further illustrated the breadth of the Polk Audio line while epitomizing our commitment to making anything that makes sound, sound better.”
Residential and light commercial automation systems developer, Control4 showcased its latest video intercom solutions and automation controllers throughout the show. The new video intercom range—that includes the 7” portable touchscreen with camera, 7” in-wall touchscreen with camera and door station—is designed to provide dedicated control functionality and high-quality communication for both homes and business. The automation innovator also announced the global release of the Control4® MyHome® application for Android mobile devices in 19 languages. Additionally, Control4 recognized its top UK dealers and distributors.
Procella Audio also had an incredible show. Commented Chuck Back, “We had more visitors than ever, coming from Europe, the Middle East and even South Africa. Our demo theater was packed throughout the show, with listeners experiencing our new P610 full-range LCR, the P18 subwoofer and P6 surrounds. Everyone was knocked out by our new six-foot giant—the P860 extremely high output loudspeaker aimed at the largest theaters and clients with cost-no-object budgets. Our other new speaker, a tall version of our classic P6, was enthusiastically received, and we expect it to do particularly well in the U.S. market.
The Russound booth never seemed to quiet down. Said Russound’s Charlie Porritt, “The 2012 ISE was the most upbeat and productive yet, and this is a show that enjoys a reputation as being well worth the investment. The distributors and dealers were very optimistic about the coming year, and expectations for growing business are very high.
“Of particular interest was the AirGo Outdoor Speaker System, no doubt due to the fact that it sounds great in any type of weather, and lets users stream their favorite music from any AirPlay-equipped source. There is no concern about compatibility or power no matter where on the planet it’s enjoyed.
“Along with AirGo, Russound’s C-Series did especially well, just as it has been a big hit in the EU market since the first models were introduced two years ago. It’s a remarkably easy system to install, while giving end-users a whole-house entertainment experience that is unheard of at such an affordable price point.” CR