Infocomm 2019 is the largest exhibition for AV communications, manufacturers, dealers, audio-visual professionals and systems integration professionals in North America and as it opens its doors next week it is expected to draw more than 45,000 visitors. As the industry gears up for the show, Futuresource Consulting identifies the key trends and technologies that you need to look out for.
At a macro level, Futuresource expects to see and hear more about AI, big data and analytics, as the show evolves to reflect the growing influence of IT based solutions. Though not a new topic, there is more clarity in vision and communication across the industry around these topics with vendors expected to present strategies and product roadmaps that integrate more deeply with these tools.
Most retailers are already well equipped on displays technology, but now the trend is trying to differentiate from every other retailer. Ways this is being done is with alternative products, such as stretched displays, OLED (namely curved), transparent OLED displays and interesting LED installations. Tied in with this, retailers are now beginning to understand the importance of customer analytics, so signage and advertising can be targeted more specifically to certain population groups/genders/ age ranges. Personalised signage is the holy grail, but issues around data privacy and storage remain critical before true personalised adverts can become commonplace.
Convergence is a key focus within digital signage (DS), with voice and facial recognition (analytics), object recognition, AI and augmented reality (AR) all under evaluation or being trialled in concept locations. These technologies could potentially drive demand for more powerful, edge-based processing and storage, generating further business opportunities. With retail remaining the key vertical in DS, there is also a push towards more integration between signage, POS and retailers’ e-commerce platforms and, in terms of hardware, a move to brighter in-window displays.
Globally, digital displays grew by 16% year-on-year in 2018, reaching 3 million units for the total year. The importance of smaller screen sizes cannot be underplayed as 70% of signage displays are in the screen sizes 45-59” – for many signage environments, physical space is of a premium, so smaller screen sizes are important to make the most of the available space.
The growing outdoor DS advertising and information/wayfinding vertical is also likely to be a focus at Infocomm according to Futuresource, as well as meeting room booking, display and wayfinding signage solutions for the corporate and hospitality industries.
From a flat panel perspective, Futuresource Consulting expects to see many regional announcements, similar to ISE in Amsterdam. Higher resolution 8K flat panels are expected to be on display from a range of vendors. However, this is more to demonstrate the potential that this technology has for advanced applications like medical or military, rather than mainstream.
Futuresource does not expected this to trickle down to the mainstream for quite sometime, but vendors will be keen to demonstrate their capabilities and bring something new to the show floor. In addition, there will be a proliferation of 4K displays across the show.
Futuresource also expects Flexible OLED products to be prominent, building on the success of January’s CES in Las Vegas. This will take the form of fixed curves or waves, but it’s likely that truly roll-able displays will be on the show floor as well. Also, a wide range of collaboration displays will be seen, as vendors intensify their efforts in the battle for the meeting room.
The corporate meeting room continues to receive widespread investment from technology providers looking to take advantage of this rapidly growing opportunity. This will be evident at the show, with product launches across a variety of categories, all focusing on the meeting room.
Watch out for collaboration displays bringing intelligent interactivity to the meeting room, wireless presentation solutions which create collaborative workspaces and foster greater cooperation amongst employees, and the growth of solutions supporting video and audio conferencing. All these developments are highlighting the growing importance of video communications to businesses. Futuresource expects a wealth of innovative hardware and software solutions competing for space in this increasingly diverse and competitive market.
On Thursday 11th June Anthony Brennan, Futuresource Consulting, will introduce the session IP as the Universal Language of AV, and set the scene a theme that will echo throughout the day’s programme. Anthony Brennan of Futuresource will share how IP as a universal communication protocol is precipitating seismic shifts in AV technology, business, and customer behaviour.
The race for bezel-less displays will continue, with all major vendors competing for the smallest bezel-to-bezel displays on the show floor. Futuresource expects to see sub-1mm bezels as LCD attempts to fend off the advances of NPP LED.
Futuresource expects front projection vendors to be leading with brighter and lighter models this year. As the mainstream market becomes increasingly pressured by other display technologies, more brands are expected to release laser phosphor solutions over 6K lumens, and as the installation space becomes more competitive, weight has become a key differentiator.
Look out for show-stopping mapped installations, which will be on display across the event, with brands eager to demonstrate how projection technology and mapping software continues to evolve and underline projection’s position as the leading large format display technology, despite LCD, OLED and LED now dominating the majority of stands. An emphasis on projection’s inherent flexibility will be evident, as brands highlight how projection can now compete in new applications like digital signage. Futuresource expects 4K to be another key theme, with brands pushing the brightness boundary of the 4K 0.47 DLP chip.
LED will have a strong showing, not just from brands looking to develop ranges or introduce LED for the first time, but the sheer amount of LED that will be dressing stands on the show floor. The proliferation of LED technology helps to demonstrate why so many display vendors have rushed to bring products to market and the dazzling year-on-year growth this segment continues to post. Futuresource expects to see the LED brands promoting different aspects of their LED line-ups.
Key themes to watch for include:
Low latency AV over IP has been rising steadily over the past 24 months, with this year’s Infocomm expected to be the strongest year yet for the market. Futuresource expects to see more solutions than ever on display, with focus on this market at an all-time-high. Expect competing claims, innovative solutions and a wealth of new low-latency products set to disrupt the signal distribution market.
As the installed leisure and installed commercial segments continue to flourish for professional audio, there is no doubt that the audio hall, as well as individual booths, will be more diverse than ever this year.
Expect to see meeting room microphones take centre-stage following double digit growth rates in 2018, and pendant speakers hanging from those booths that mean business (business music).
Retail and hospitality will be some of the key markets for mid-range systems at the show, but even larger systems will continue to be marketed for these verticals. Meanwhile, try not to miss the increased number of installed line array systems flying overhead, the size and potential of the U.S stadium market will certainly be on the minds of many.
Audio trends to look for:
The Professional AV team at Futuresource Consulting brings you this bulletin to help you make the most of Infocomm, whether you’re attending the show or following it online. If you would like any further guidance, the Futuresource team will be on the show floor throughout the event to make sure you get the best possible experience. You can also follow Futuresource Consulting on Twitter (@futuresourcer) to get live updates on important announcements during the show, as well as receiving key commentary from our market experts. Watch out for the upcoming Futuresource post-Infocomm show report as well.
Key members of the Futuresource Professional AV team will be on the show floor throughout Infocomm 2019 and will be available to industry partners and press for meetings and to answer questions regarding the latest trends, opportunities and announcements that are expected or being discussed at the show.
The full Futuresource analyst contact sheet is available from Nicola Finn, PR Manager at Futuresource, together with the analysts’ areas of expertise. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the contact sheet and facilitate any enquiry as quickly as possible.
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