Content discontent. Inside view of ISE 2018.

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) is the world’s largest annual AV systems event – a showcase for cutting-edge technology products, services and solutions. The ISE Stand Design Awards, managed by EXHIBITOR Magazine, acknowledge the event exhibitors and their stand-design efforts. I joined the jury team for the second year in a row.

Written by Andy Sexton.

2LK have a rich history of integrating new technology with creative brand experiences. It’s in our nature to understand and leverage technology within our work where relevant – from the world’s first curved video wall for Sony in 1997 to the more recent engine for Intel.

Given this, it was a real privilege to be invited onto the ISE Stand Design Awards jury again – a chance to review the booth designs, product display techniques and overall visitor experiences by some of world’s largest tech brands. From judged to juror.

It’s always interesting to be a humble ‘visitor’ again, rather than attending in service of a client/exhibitor. Shows aren’t quite so magical after you’ve been there through the chaos of the build. So this was an opportunity to experience brand installations through a very different lens to my usual ‘day job’ filter.

To keep the jury focused, EXHIBITOR Magazine conducted a rigorous ‘pre-judging’ review of all event participants and shortlisted 5-10 stands in each of the four categories (small, medium, large, XL). On the whole, the level of creativity and originality was a little disappointing, especially considering the calibre of many exhibiting brands. Nonetheless, it was a fascinating process. Objectivity was essential and there was plenty of debate amongst the judges. For the most part, the winning entries were impactful, engaging and stood out instantly.

What about those stands that didn’t win? What was the overall event zeitgeist? The majority of ISE’s 1,400 exhibitors displayed large format video technology, but there was an unbelievable lack of care and attention around killer content that informs and inspires whilst bringing out the best in the hardware.

Epson’s stand was a beautiful exception, with a mesmerising projection-mapped centrepiece. Illustrative storytelling captivated viewers across an enormous curved bowl with stunning picture quality. It’s no surprise that this attracted and retained the biggest crowd at the event.

 

 

There’s no denying the interest in LG’s Canyon Attractor. With 60 Open Frame OLED displays in concave and convex configurations, the installation demonstrated customisable form factors and superb picture quality. The shape and size of the displays can be tailored to fit the contours of any commercial space. The content perfectly complemented the tech – an utterly beautiful true video stream of nature’s wonders.

 

 

There were probably over 1,000 touchscreens at ISE. Whilst I found it odd that I didn’t see any visitors actually using them, Samsung had a caricaturist to demonstrate its offering. This simple, human content addition drew a huge crowd and showed the tech at its best. It was a great reminder that in a sea of integrated AV systems, people still crave human interaction.

 

 

Judging is an exciting part of my role at 2LK, as is attending events when it’s not part of the ‘day job’. Both serve as a great source of inspiration to take back to the wider team, so we’re able to provide our clients with fresh new ideas and experiences that truly resonate with visitors.

 

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