Amazing, Interesting & Useful: 2018 Audiovisual Trends Seen at ISE

Blair Parkin


The annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) is now the world’s largest professional communications technology event, covering everything from LED display screens, sound systems, networking, building control systems, and much more. Workplace, healthcare, government, museums and many other markets are addressed and represented. Taking place in Amsterdam throughout 15 halls of exhibitors, it has become the global meeting place for technologists, designers, owners, and operators seeking a glimpse of the future. The TEECOM EMEA team was at the center of the action for three days, hosting clients from the US, Europe, and the Middle East and facilitating and navigating project teams around this massive event.

What was amazing?

The TEECOM team found much to be amazed about in Amsterdam this year.

2018 Audiovisual Trends

In terms of product and technology evolution, it was amazing to see the world’s first public demonstration of an 8K image projector. The image was simply stunning – the 8K resolution is equivalent to 16 x HDTV pictures in one image! The resultant projected imagery looks truly photographic, not pixelated at all. This was a clear step toward digital visual fidelity becoming a reality. The image display format has raced ahead of the digital connectivity, so the prototype projector required 16 x video inputs in order to display an 8K image.

2018 Audiovisual Trends

Digital Projection Inc., the inventor and manufacturer, assured us that by full production this August the input will be reduced to two cables or a single fiber. Now all that is missing is the content to display. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, 7th Sense and others were all showing image collection (cameras) and playback servers that will be able to handle 8K and even 16K content.

The latest LED display technology comes in all shapes and sizes and can be considered a building material and a room surface as well as a display screen. Floors, walls, steps, and stages are now all off-the-shelf products, with prices having crashed for many applications to less than $2000 per square metre of display… twice the resolution and less than 50% of what the cost was two years ago.

LED floors were particularly prevalent: mechanical assemblies combined with ruggedized electronics that make placing digital media into the floor a real possibility.

What was interesting?

Notable trends provided the nexus of what was interesting this year. One that is now in full force is the impact of millennials in the workplace. Several of the presentations and talks focused on this and its impact on the design of space and technology in the workplace. Broadly, wireless working, presenting, and collaborating is firmly the norm, and the spaces and technology need to have that as their starting point, not as an add.

Technology is simultaneously becoming covert and extrovert, hidden and obvious, all at once. LED displays allow technology to become part of the space, theming, interacting, changing, and delivering mood and message, whether it be in a museum or an office. In this instance we saw a huge amount of newly developed high-profile “extrovert” display technologies, from spheres to curved walls and active acoustic systems that change the nature of a how a space sounds and interacts with its occupants.

2018 Audiovisual Trends

At the other end of the spectrum, technology tools such as loudspeakers, presentation displays, microphones, and all of the other IT and audiovisual paraphernalia are becoming covert. 

Major manufacturers are offering integration with ceiling systems, in-wall, and in-furniture versions of all kinds of technology. This cleans up and declutters the workspace and reduces the need for dedicated meeting and presentation spaces.

By integrating the technology into huddle areas, corridors, vestibules and other open spaces, the environment becomes “activated” for different applications. One moment a corridor can be just that, the next moment it might host a standing meeting for the sales team, with sound, images, and video conferencing all integrated into the architecture.

The standard space model of desk, open plan office, meeting rooms, presentation spaces, and video conferencing rooms was already under pressure in terms of architectural design. Now that technologies are fully adapting to support integration with generic spaces, this change is only going to accelerate.

Technology that is on show is meant for just that, the show, with everything else merging with the canvas of the workspace.

The more extrovert use of technology can be summarized as activating spaces using technology to theme, change, and react – making time of day, functionality, and even mood all transformative at the push of a button (well, the swipe of a phone screen).

2018 Audiovisual Trends

What was useful?

ISE is not just a showcase and launch pad for cool technology – it has also become a platform for education and certification for multiple technology disciplines. Bringing people together from over 90 countries, it provided the perfect forum for manufacturer and industry training. The conference and meeting center at the convention center was packed every morning with hundreds of up-and-coming engineers and designers all getting qualified in how to design, deploy, and support this emerging digital media revolution. The millennials again were ever-present – this time as the students, all hungry to learn their new trade and apply it to the market.


  • ISE was celebrating the largest event in its 15-year history after a record 80,923 visitors registered for the 2018 event.
  • The exhibition, held February 6 to 9 at the RAI Amsterdam, spanned 15 halls and showed AV, IT, security, staging, and systems integration technologies.
  • 1,296 exhibitors were present at the event with 294 companies exhibiting at ISE for the first time. 
  • Registered visitors increased 10.3% on the 2017 edition and almost 20,000 visitors attended the last day of the show. More than 30% of the total attendees were visiting ISE for the first time.

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Blair Parkin
Blair Parkin, Principal

Blair’s passion is leveraging new technology, the network, and the built environment to innovate transformative spaces encompassing museum exhibit galleries, new corporate workspaces, and first-of-their-kind theatres and planetariums. Speaking many project languages, from architecture to museums, Blair quickly adapts to his clients’ needs and is eager to leave his mark on the world with each revolutionary public, research, and corporate space he envisions.