This guest post comes from our Product Marketing Manager, David Acton.
As I stepped into the RAI Exposition Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands for the Integrated Systems Europe show, I immediately realized that this would be a systems integration event like I’d never experienced before. I had attended CEDIA (Residential Systems) for almost every year for the last 10 years and Infocomm (Commercial Systems) the last 5 years, but this was my first visit to ISE. Both CEDIA and Infocomm are considered International shows – however, this was the first show I had ever attended that really had an international feel to it. Aside from numerous manufacturers I didn’t even know existed, there was a wide array of nationalities and languages around me that made this show a really cool, global experience.
ISE is a joint initiative of both CEDIA and Infocomm trade organizations, resulting in a wide range of products, technologies and applications for both home and commercial facilities. Although audio and control technologies were certainly at the show, video was king. And it wasn’t just amazing images that had people “ooing and ahhing” – like the giant 4K and 3D video walls at LG and Samsung’s booths. It was the huge array of interactive displays that allowed attendees to literally put control of the experience in their own hands. Here were a few technologies that were showcased that made everyone stop and take a look – including myself. They very well may be the future of how we shop, interact and play.
Interactive Vending Machines –
Imagine walking up to a vending machine to grab a drink. You peer through the glass to choose which beverage will quench your thirst and then the window of the vending machine comes alive with the lifelike image of an orange soda pouring into a glass of ice. Suddenly, orange soda sounds pretty good. The price of each drink appears on the window. You see that the orange soda is a bit cheaper than all of the other options, so that seals the deal. A prompt on the glass encourages you to make a selection, so you touch the virtual button that appears in front of the orange soda. Then the button dissolves away and out come a few little virtual helpers who grab what appears to be a bottle of your orange soda and take a ride on the elevator to the bottom of the vending machine where your real-world beverage appears. Finally, a thank-you message appears on the window as you grab your drink. This scenario actually describes the demo displayed at the LG booth and you can see it below.
Interactive Retail Shopping –
Located at the NEC booth, visitors played the part of shoppers looking for the perfect purse at a high tech retail store. Visitors would step up in front of a 70” HD video display with a Microsoft Kinnect sensor, which showcased the latest purse fashions. Once they were within 6 feet, the screen changed to display a few purse styles on the left and instructions to select the style of the purse by reaching out with their left hand to select an option – similar to the way a gesture-based game on the Xbox is played. From there, a list of images of the selected purse in different colors was displayed on the right, prompting the visitor to select a color with their right hand. Once the selection was made, a store clerk would bring out the purse for viewing or purchasing. Another sign that gesturing as a user interface and the Kinnect are really taking hold.
Interactive Touch Displays –
Showcased at multiple booths, Interactive touch displays were all the rage. Demos were everywhere, with everything from a 47” touch display with shopping selections (imagine an ultra huge iPad) to a massive HD video wall used as a command station with the ability to drag multiple elements across the screen. Some touch displays were mounted on the wall, perfect for teachers writing out a mathematic formula on top of an image or video, while others were table surfaces, where you could imagine sitting in a coffee shop looking at a map of a whole city, complete with pop-up images and videos.
Of course, in addition to all of the interactive video technologies, there were plenty of other interesting residential products that would fit well into any home with a Control4 system:
- Launch Port I-Pad Mount and Charger: An on-wall or table top mount for the ipad which features inductive charging (device charges by contact) and a strong magnet to hold it tight against the wall or table top.
- HDBaseT HDMI over Cat-5: HDBaseT technology was everywhere – Including switchers and extenders that can send up to 4K resolution video, multi-channel audio, serial/IR commands, and Ethernet over a single Cat5 cable. Perfect for getting audio, video and control to every area of the house.
- Mighty Brighty Projection Screen Paint: An economical alternative to having a projection screen. Allows you to create a reflective surface for a home theater projector by simply applying a special type of reflective paint to the wall. Not exactly a new concept, but this company claims improved performance over previous solutions.
There were a whole host of other residential and commercial solutions on display as well. All together a great show and definitely worth the trip. The environment was inspiring and a great opportunity to learn about new manufacturers and new ideas. Oh… and on a side note, the almond pastries, croissants and other baked goodies on the streets of Amsterdam were simply amazing!