The world’s largest trade show for the audio-visual industry is about to get introspective.

ISE 2019 in Amsterdam, or Integrated Systems Europe, is itself going to be a demonstration of one of its own key messages about the future. This year’s convention promises to reveal much about how the next generation of live event management will unfold–while at the same time being an example of that very evolution.

Visitors can expect to see row upon row of cutting-edge LED signage advertising the wares of LED signage companies–and with LED getting cheaper each year, you’ll be seeing a lot of it.

There’ll be an audio assault from the new range of loudspeaker technologies, each luring you into the immersive audio world of the digital loudspeaker industry. And there’ll be an array of virtual and augmented reality displays promising a glimpse of the emerging ways we’re visualizing the world around us.

Through the act of hosting a collection of the world’s leading live event technologies, ISE promises to be a stunning demonstration of what we can expect from such showcases over the coming decade–and the elements that will make up our own smaller-scale presentations.

ISE 2019 in Amsterdam Will Be a Visual Feast

The annual, four-day ISE convention (this year February 4-8) is one of the most visually arresting technology forums on the planet. Its vendors–and there should be around a third more vendors this year than last, when more than 1,200 attended–are global leaders in visual and audio presentation, and their ideas and products predict the trends that will come to dominate fields such as graphic presentation, video conferencing, and event management.

Last year’s convention introduced us to a number of memorable innovations, including the world’s first augmented reality climbing wall, an immersive 4K and 3D laser-projected dining experience–which you can see in the video below–and a host of digital retail signage that pushed the boundaries of interactive and immersive displays.

Each year’s event is highlighted by what’s become known as the Panasonic Showstopper. The now-traditional display has become something of a magic show, taking advantage of the latest in live event displays, laser and holographic projection, 3D mapping and tracking, and virtual reality to create a mesmerizing convention centerpiece. ISE 2018’s showstopper is shown below:

All this wizardry isn’t without purpose, however. The underlying tracking, projection, and processing power has uses in all aspects of digital life, from major public events to boardroom meetings.

Creating the Right Live Impression

ISE can appear to be nothing but a sound and light show. At its core, however, are the new generations of servers, hardware, and software that can combine the worlds of the real and the virtual into perceptual pyrotechnics.

The output is expected to revolve around the incorporation of VR and AR into manageable displays. In a retail setting, these displays offer greater product interaction, both online and in-store.


ISE does look forward to a time when all the tech it shows off will be usable in everyday situations.

Those next-gen computer brains are most likely going to be used in the form of artificial intelligence. The trend within the AV world is toward collaboration between and control over varied systems within a unified communications environment. This translates to a rise in “smart rooms” that hand over control of everything from lighting to web camera movement to automated devices. There’s also likely to be an increase in the use of mobile technologies to personalize such room services–for instance, your video conferencing equipment will recognize you from your smartphone signal and set up your room preferences accordingly. We’ve had similar technologies before, notably from Cisco’s Spark Room Kit, but it will be interesting to see what ISE’s innovators bring to the field.

While ISE is partly just about the art of putting on a show, it does look forward to a time when all the tech it shows off will be usable in everyday situations. It may look a thousand miles away from being relevant to your own humble business, but the vendors in Amsterdam are the ones shaping your own future presentations.

How ISE 2019 Translates to Your Business

All this spectacle eventually trickles down to inform the options you have when making your own professional presentations…though it takes time.

The gesture-driven technology synonymous with the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, for example, was inspired by the real-life displays of Oblong’s Mezzanine platform, a video specialist with MIT origins and a long-time ISE vendor. That team is expected to make another splash this year with its new screencast app, and though its services generally remain out of reach for smaller businesses, they are actually available.


The trick with showcases like ISE 2019 is to distill the substance from the sparkle.

What we hope to get from ISE 2019 is a handle on how these technologies can be translated to the office and small-to-medium business world. Fancy effects and dancing holograms are impressive, but how will we put them to use in front of clients and collaborators? The healthcare industry, for example, seems to be in a game of constant catch-up with the potential of immersive visual displays of the type we see frequently in entertainment but which seldom make the leap to the doctor’s office (case in point: holographic telemedicine).

The trick with showcases like ISE 2019 in Amsterdam is to distill the substance from the sparkle. It appears the key trends will be around better integration of AI within conference room controls; better use of mobile technology as both meeting entry point and integrated platform; and the continued evolution of AR and VR technologies.

And lots of ever-cheaper LED light displays.


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