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What Tech to Expect at ISE 2020

Professional AV Market Analysis and Commentary

As the pro AV sector gears up for ISE 2020, opening its doors on the 11th Feb 2020, Futuresource Consulting identifies the key trends and technologies likely to emerge from the world’s largest exhibition for AV and systems integration professionals.

Brought to you by the professional AV team at Futuresource, this pre-show roundup will help you navigate the technology landscape. With more than 80,000 attendees expected from across the globe, and more than 1,300 exhibitors, there’s a lot to take in. If you need any further guidance, the Futuresource team will be on hand throughout the event to ensure you get the best possible experience.

Smart Buildings Shifting the Landscape

As smart buildings gain traction, we should see companies on the show floor depicting the transformation from today’s open plan offices into working environments that integrate smart technology to enhance and improve the office experience. Look out for a change of emphasis, from simple lighting and heating control to promoting increased wellbeing and improved workplace productivity.

Meeting room booking systems that integrate more succinctly into building management systems (BMS), immersive audio, voice and gesture control, and products using 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are all solutions that Futuresource expects to be featured across the show floor. Watch out for a continued shift from dedicated hardware into software-based solutions, as PC processing power becomes more affordable.

Data Analytics Driving Down Costs and Building Loyalty

There’s no doubt that data will be at the forefront of pro AV industry growth moving forward, and this will be reflected on the show floor. Whether that’s through digital experience platforms (DXP) in signage, AVMS in corporate environments or less complex analytics tools tailored towards education. Companies will be demonstrating analytics that offers the potential for end-users to gain far greater value from their AV investment, helping them to design cost saving and resource efficient initiatives. Buy-in to signage platforms, whether integrated into display solutions or not, also raises the potential to lock customers into respective ecosystems, providing a new way for AV brands to foster customer loyalty.

Co-operation in Video and Control

As tier-two vendors and players from other sectors enter the video and control market, Futuresource expects to see launches of more mid-range products from the tier one vendors. Alongside this, visitors should also see more vendors launching low bandwidth codecs like HEVC and AVB.

Looking to AV over IP, Futuresource anticipates more vendors announcing that they have joined the Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance or Dante’s AV Alliance. There could also be an Application Specified Integrated Circuit (ASIC) from the SDVOE, with examples integrated into projectors, wall plates and other equipment. Cloud-based room control systems are also likely to be a hot product at the show.

Collaboration and Connectivity Comes of Age

The corporate space is being dominated by two mounting trends: collaboration and connectivity. Ecosystems and their interoperability will be a key focus at ISE 2020, as will further launches of solutions offering these features.

Leading brands in the collaboration space are expected to showcase improved compatibility and increased accessibility to advanced features. Within the WPS market, 4K, as well as a wide range of features and connection options, is expected at the high end. Simultaneous screen sharing will begin to feature more at the mid-range and entry level solutions will continue to showcase affordable 1080p. A key theme for collaboration across ISE is expected to be Artificial Intelligence (AI), with the aim to improve the quality and seamlessness of remote collaborative meetings. Collaboration displays are also expected to be released, with expanded feature sets allowing them to operate as room hubs on top of their already rich capabilities. Collaboration technologies’ applicability will again be reinforced, as the industry continues to invest in tools to suit all needs.

Interactive Displays out in Force

Many of the interactive display brands that have spent the last week at Bett, the international education show in London, will switch their focus to show their corporate displays range at ISE. Due to the close proximity of the two events, some have chosen ISE over Bett, so expect to see more than two dozen brands exhibiting interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs) at the show. Fleshing out the features has been a core trend for IFPDs in recent years, primarily concentrating on the integration of collaboration tools like cameras, high quality audio conferencing and wireless presentation. Futuresource expects this trend to continue, with more vendors incorporating sensors into the displays, as meeting room analytics becomes an increasingly hot topic for the AV industry.

Projection Pushes Forward in Face of Competition

Expect the world’s leading front projector brands to focus on flexibility at ISE 2020. Mapped installations will envelop the show-floor, astounding visitors and demonstrating projection’s creative potential. Watch out for the increased availability of high-bright and 4K solutions in the high-end, while solid-state and connectivity will be a focus in the lower-end. Advances in ultra-short throw and laser projection techniques will also be on display.

It’s projection’s ability to sit across a range of verticals, from education to signage, that will be evident, as the industry underlines its continued relevance and attempts to fight off competition from LCD, OLED and LED.

LED Video Walls on the Rise, but Confusion Still an Issue

The rapid growth in direct view LED walls will continue to spread across the show floor. However, this year there will be a strong focus on sub-1mm displays, with a host of vendors expected to show 0.9mm, 0.7mm and even 0.5mm options. Yet, confusion surrounding the underlying technology will still abound, as vendor marketing materials reference MiniLED, MicroLED, X-in-1 and, to a lesser extent, COB. Visitors may also see improvements to contrast ratio, showcasing HDR content, as advances could be used for more precisely controlled backlighting.

Beyond pixel pitch, Futuresource expects to see more all-in-one solutions from vendors, targeting presentation spaces with high resolution walls. This will reflect the growing awareness and sales performance from this segment in the last 12 months. Closely linked to both these topics, there will be conversations around improved durability, which is a much-needed feature. Also, in a world that has been so heavily focused on standardisation to drive volume, watch out for creative solutions, particularly flexible and transparent LED.

Flat Panel Leads with 8K

8K resolutions are expected to be the focus for many flat panel vendors. Still very much in its infancy for professional displays, 8K is becoming a key demonstration technology, highlighting applications where the extra detail could be appreciated and needed. In addition, Futuresource expects analytics for both signage and presentation spaces to take centre stage. On the signage side, analytics are become ever-more essential, as advertisers explore ways to target visitors with tailored messages, rather than off-the-peg messaging, which often fails to connect.

For LCD video walls, visitors will see a continued focus on very small bezels. More vendors are expected to show the latest generation of Razor Narrow Bezels (RNB), where images are less obscured by the join. This will become more important, as LCD tries to impede the advances of Narrow Pixel Pitch LED products, emphasising its economical appeal when compared with the very expensive NPP product.

Large format displays have the potential to migrate from commercial to residential installations, though still many years away. However, this illustrates the beginnings of ambient intelligence and screens that can blend into the environment. Expect to see new display technologies that include live projection mapping and blending. Volumetric display and point-cloud capture techniques may also be showcased during the event.

Pro Audio Making Noise

ISE 2020 could be the best year yet for audio, with installed live sound targeted at theatres, stadiums and other venue spaces a key feature during the show. Be prepared for a buzz around the opportunities in small venues, auditoria, lecture theatres and corporate event rental.

In commercial audio, new and existing surface mount and ceiling speakers will continue to play an important role, riding the wave of retail refurbishment, hotel installs and large PA and background music projects. The show will also be important for brands aiming for the vast quantity of small businesses, bars and cafes that need the right balance between usability and sound quality. Watch out for the continued overlap of residential brands and the potential for consumer brands to impact this market.

In the workplace collaboration space, expect innovations attuned to the video conferencing trend and the frequent discussion of DSP systems and networking. While audio, visual and IT will all combine to form integrated offerings.

Focus on Output and Efficiency in Pro Lighting

Watch out for new hybrid lighting fixtures and laser-based offerings in the moving head professional lighting and console sector. Higher output Lamps and LED-based fixtures will be on display, along with more high-end fixtures, with an MRSP above $6K, as this segment becomes more competitive.

Futuresource also expects a focus on more output with less power, in terms of lumens per watt, and a wider offering of IP rated fixtures for use outdoors and in dusty or damp environments. There could also be more integration of moving head pro lighting with LED walls and projection.

See Futuresource at the Show

Key members of the Futuresource pro AV team will be on the show floor throughout ISE 2020 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. The contact sheet provides contact information and area of expertise for each of our analysts. Please contact Nicola to receive the information and to facilitate any enquiry as quickly as possible via

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.

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