From new possibilities in projection to ultra-high definition 8K displays and seamless integration solutions, visitors to this year's ISE show were able to explore the future of technology.
Held at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 11-14 February, ISE 2020 brought together experts and customers from a variety of sectors for a showcase of the latest in AV and systems integration solutions. This year marked a notable shift from products to solutions, with less static product showcases on the event floor and more end-to-end systems – featuring immersive displays, virtual reality, simulators and projected video walls.
From the many live, dynamic demonstrations of solutions-led systems this year, here are our top five tech trends from ISE 2020.
"Walking around the stands this year, it's clear that the industry is heavily stacked towards laser projectors, even low brightness laser projectors, which are a new trend in the projection market," says Canon's European Product Marketing Specialist, Matthew Koshy.
Lamp-based projectors appear to be a dwindling projection technology. Their initial price may be lower, but when you factor in servicing and maintenance costs, laser projection costs the same – or less – over the lifetime of the product. Other benefits of laser projection include 20,000 hours of continuous run-time, quieter operation and units that run at cooler temperatures.
"Low brightness laser projectors now output at around 4,000 lumens, compared with the 6,000 lumens the market is used to," Matthew says. "This easily competes with lamp-based projection units."
With projectors, LED walls, video walls and large format displays now offering high-resolution 8K capabilities, users seeking more immersive, true-to-life experiences now also expect more from their content creation and display systems. At this year's ISE, Canon showcased its latest high-resolution kit, including the Canon 7x10.7 KAS S portable zoom lens for 8K broadcast cameras.
"Canon is unique in that it has a full imaging ecosystem with an 8K end-to-end system," says Matthew. "This gives users the ability to create and output native 8K content."
Museums, art galleries and exhibitors will find this kind of high-resolution system really useful. The corporate world is also keen for high-resolution ecosystems, as Canon discovered when it built a bespoke 12K projection system for German corporate security company Dallmeier, in 2019. Though 12K remains a one-off, 8K benefits the digital signage sector for corporations that want to grab attention in their reception areas or shop windows.
It's increasingly rare for users to buy a single projector to create a single image – fixed displays are now a much more economical solution for this kind of task. As a result, some people assume the projection market is dying. In fact, it is simply shifting towards more sophisticated systems. Multiple projectors can create curved screens and innovative designs, as seen in flight and driving simulators, where the display needs to envelop the user in a reliable and accurate way. This also ties in with developments in virtual reality, making projection a frontrunner in terms of flexibility and cost.
"Canon has demonstrated this complex but immersive experience first-hand," says Matthew. "In 2019, the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands featured 21 projectors with a fleet of interchangeable lenses across four exhibitions."
Digital signage was visible on almost every stand at ISE 2020, either as an LED wall, large-format display or video wall created from multiple panels. Manufacturers are now providing their own proprietary digital signage software, offering businesses an end-to-end solution that helps to increase brand loyalty and means fixing or updating systems can be done more quickly and easily – although such designs can prove more difficult to fix when using third-party software or hardware.
"The end-to-end solutions and proprietary software being released means bigger displays are more flexible," says Matthew. "Rather than horizontal or vertical orientation, displays can now be connected in diagonal or diamond patterns to make unique shapes that stand out from the competition."
The projection market takes this flexible approach one step further, offering users further creativity with curved surfaces. Laser projectors are ideal for digital signage because they can be left on without the worry of a lamp bursting or brightness waning. In fact, laser projectors are now so bright they can easily compete with ambient lighting. Canon's brightest projector in the digital signage market outputs at 7,000 lumens, with bigger rental and live event units reaching 35,000 lumens.
Meeting rooms and boardrooms around the world are beginning to abandon unsightly HDMI cables, adapters and accessories in favour of simple wireless systems. Most examples rely on a 'plug-and-play' approach: a receiver plugged into the display sits on the wireless network, removing the need for proprietary adapters and cross-platform compatibility, and saving time and effort both at the start and end of meetings. Alternatively, wireless dongles allow users to plug-and-play with multiple devices, without the need for wireless network connectivity from the device user. Some systems offer the option of casting multiple devices simultaneously to the display, and the ability to write in real-time for increased productivity and creativity.