ISE 2017 – A Programmer’s Perspective

I remember attending a cozy little trade show in Geneva Switzerland in 2004. Over the years I’ve watched ISE grow and grow and grow. Infocomm should consider a certification for navigating all the new halls that each year brings. There are two simple take aways from all this growth – the AV industry is growing and Mike Blackman got skills.

The best part of this year’s show was hands down Infocomm’s Future Of Integration Summit. There were a lot of empty seats, which is a real shame for everyone that was not there. But for me it was an incredible experience. There were times it felt like a personal consultation with some of the most thoughtful and in-the-know people in the AV industry. The openness and generousity of the presenters showed a side of our community that we could use a lot more of.

Julian Philips of Whitlock explained that enterprise customers buy platforms and services not necesarilly to save money, but to remain agile. He also hinted that his projects that include a particular software suite from Microsoft are three times bigger with 10% more profit. Yeah, you shoulda been there.

Daniel Rogers of AVI-SPL shared some experiences and knowledge in providing cloud solutions. Most businesses already have a digital business strategy, but do not have the skills to execute it. Partnerships will be a critical part of implementing the cloud. I lost count of the number of times software was mentioned during the summit.

When asked what it will take to change the legacy mindset so prevalent in AV, this amazing panel perked right up and offered lively, insightful and practical advice. Watch out for the new breed of consultants everyone.

The summit was wrapped up with a warning for anyone tying their company’s success to any one manufacturer’s product line. Imagine what could happen to your business if that company was ever bought for it’s customer list and not the products.

The influence IT is having on AV was also dominant on the show floor. Even Crestron released some video over IP products.

QSC was giving “historical” presentations in their booth with the presenter’s audio being processed by a Dell server. That same server handles the control too, which can be programmed in Lua in case you were wondering (I was).

For some reason, my sure-footed friend Tim Albright at AVNation thought I could pull of a decent interview and asked me to talk to Itai Ben-Gal of Kramer’s iRule on camera (don’t know why I look so suspicious – I actually think Itai is a cool guy and role model for business-minded programmers). Itai told me how Kramer Control was rebuilt from the ground up. They still have an online designer but I think you know what I was curious about – can I use a real programming language? Yes. Lua – again.

The most exciting new technology in my book is SDVOE – Software Defined Video Over Ethernet. You know they had me at Software Defined. The initial training was standing room only and while I could listen to Justing Kennington rap about disrupting the 8 billion dollar matrix switcher industry all day, Larent Masia of Netgear surprised and delighted my inner nerd with detailed and concise explanations from the IT world. If you ever see this guy at a trade show, ask him a question.

In the SDVOE Master Class on Friday Matt Dodd brought the OSI model to life by having his potentially sleepy students throw crumbled pieces of paper around the room to demonstrate network traffic. After a dropped packet or two we were all in top form and ready to soak up some dynamically presented networking knowledge.

My conviction in the ongoing IP armegeddon was rounded out with a visit to the booths of Utelogy and Barco. Utelogy’s attitude and business model echoed many points discussed in the Future Of Integration Summit. Simply put, software rules.

And after patiently listening to a presentation of Barco’s new control solution, I got to the heart of the matter for my programmer’s mind – device drivers are written in Javascript.

While recommending any kind of advice is way above my pay grade, I think it is safe to say my integrator friends should at least start thinking about new business models. Programmers might want to get familiar with non-proprietary programming languages and for my homeys out in the field – it’s time to get your Wireshark on.
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February 20, 2017

2 Responses

  1. Thanks Patrick for this great report. Indeed shows like ISE are no there to look at mighty booth structures and such but also to listen, talk and learn, in short to soak up information and to connect to insightful people.
    Matter of fact my main learning out of this year’s ISE was: I need to stay one more day at this very show!

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