On the Road from ISE to InfoComm, CEDIA and Beyond
In the wake of this year’s CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis, I had a chance to reflect on the show itself with my North American and European colleagues. We went over the pros and cons, ranging from the absence of some large manufacturers to the emergence of smaller companies with dedicated CI product lines.
In the midst of all these discussions, I flashed back through the haze of a busy year to my observations following February’s Integrated Systems Europe show in Amsterdam.
I sat by the light of a dim candle in the lobby of my Berlin hotel, watching the S-bahn (city train) rumble by. I was reflecting on the recent ISE show that had just ended days earlier. A mix of American and Euro-pop songs droned over the intercom as I watched hotel guests come and go in the midnight hour. My Hamburg colleague, Erik, and I were discussing the European economy, and how its strength or weakness will affect the world customer base.
A larger world customer base means greater opportunities of production from all the world’s manufacturers. However, a bad economy in the EU deprives U.S. manufacturers of a valued source of revenue. Shrinking sales obviously lead to a shrinking market, resulting in some of us leaving the industry entirely. Another symptom is the demise of some product lines and the rise of more cost-effective solutions to meet the remaining demand.
Essentially, the theme at ISE showed that it is more beneficial to seek alternate products that are designed to fulfill the varied needs of the installation over higher-cost niche items that have become even less financially attainable to customers. This theme was also seen at InfoComm last June.
Although CEDIA is technically a different clientele, it was observed that dedicated channel products are following similar trends. Some larger manufacturers have withdrawn from the show to focus on other things, leaving smaller companies with dedicated solutions rising to fill the void.