ISE 2016 Keynote: “IT in AV: Interconnecting For Smart Solutions”

opening-panel-0216By Leah McCann

This year’s 2016 ISE opening panel began with a nice “thank you for being here” and a warm welcome from Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events and head organizer of ISE 2016. But the primary topic of Monday evening’s keynote — and a recurring theme of this year’s show — was the continued convergence of AV and IT and what that means for the industry.

David Rowan, editor at Wired magazine in the UK, leaned into his introduction with a surprising statement. “I am not a futurist,” Rowan said.

Some questions posed off the bat:

  1. What are some of the trends we’re seeing this year in relation to connectivity?
  2. How is the industry dealing with this exciting moment in which two worlds (AV and IT) are colliding to create a connected universe?
  3. What’s bringing the AV and tech world together? What’s the most exciting thing happening at the moment with evolving technology?

Rowan jumped in, digging into his own proposals to start with a definitive, confident topic of discussion: drones.

Drones are not just used in the way we think they are, according to Rowan. They are constantly disrupting our idea of what we think they can do. They are taking physical goods to difficult-to-reach places; accompanying photographers like Alex Chacon on photography trips; utilizing technology within drone hardware, and more, just to name a few examples. And we’re just at the very beginning.

The next trend discussed was robotics. Self-driving cars, robots simulating the movements of chefs and factory workers, even robot receptionists: robotics and artificial intelligence are evolving topics taking part in the AV game.

Rowan’s next topic on the list: 3D printing. This will surely hit the AV world in all sorts of fashions. In the medical context, in space stations, in 3D printing houses — you name it.

According to Rowan, another trend of the year will continue to be virtual reality (e.g., Oculus Rift). When asked, about 85 percent of the keynote audience said they’d tried Oculus. Eighty-five percent. Facebook and Samsung both own VR companies. VR is not something to be ignored, particularly for consumer industries like travel and real estate, which need to bring people inside experiences that haven’t even happened yet. Real-time simulation engines, such as SpatialOS by Improbable, London, simulate cities and worlds realistically.

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Last but not least, we have artificial intelligence, changing how we interact with the screen. Companies like Deepmind (bought by Google for 400 million pounds, mind you) are aiming to solve the big AI problem — not just recognizing photos, but seeing patterns and words before they’re even spoken.

So what do all these evolving trends mean for the convergence of the AI and IT industries? What it means is that new technology will come along and challenge what companies do every day, year-round.

The changing ways in which consumers consume AV content is nothing but noteworthy. Screens are becoming ubiquitous, and the way people are seeing the world has flipped on its head in a world of ubiquitous connectivity.

“All the stuff I thought I knew is irrelevant. It’s all changed,” said Rowan. “You have to be wherever the people are.”

After Rowan’s spiel, five other panelists on the keynote jumped in. We heard from Jonathan Wagstaff, country manager, Context; Kevin Morrison, executive vice president, Harman Professional; Mark Grady, channel sales lead, EMEA, Google, Android & Chrome for Work; Bernd Eberhart, president and CEO, NEC Display Solutions; Tori Barnett, managing director, CDEC.

“People want AV to be seamless… It’s all got to be seamless, it’s all got to be easy.”
—Tori Barnett, Managing Director, CDEC

“We want the first generation of technology to excite people.”
—Jonathan Wagstaff, Context

“What about convergence? It’s here. We live it every day.”
—Kevin Morrison, Harman Professional

So what are some other notable things about this year’s show? Well, for one, we’re experiencing our first-ever four-day ISE, due to the “simple fact that ISE just kept growing,” said Blackman. “ISE is uniquely positioned to move this debate forward.”

For more information and coverage throughout ISE 2016, visit