Smart Workplace Insights from ISE 2024
Learning how to get the most out of hybrid work environments
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Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2024 was the most successful edition in its 20-year history. Taking place at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via, the show attracted 73,891 unique verified attendees from 162 countries—a record since the show’s inception in 2004. This represents an increase of 27% on the 2023 edition. According to the organizers, the total number of registrations reached 95,396 with 172,627 visits across the four days.
Once again, the show connected art, culture, and technology with the audio visual (AV) and systems integrations industries in the melting pot once described by the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez as “bella, lunática, e indescifrable” (beautiful, moody, and inscrutable). It is now home to 70% of Spain’s tech companies—this is the place for tech resellers to meet new suppliers and network with peers.
The new era of hybrid working has dramatically expanded our expectations around audio and visual communications in working environments. At the same time, broadcast (once an agency-only play) is now becoming available to the masses as we thrive to produce content at high speed. My personal focus was to root out the latest and greatest in smart workplace technology—and I was not disappointed, although “smart workplace” can mean many things.
Smart Room Management
Return to office plans have helped hybrid workers find desks and spaces for optimal collaboration. There are many vendors out there offering room management planning from GoBright, Humly, Ricoh Spaces, and Joan. The trends are all about the experience for the worker and efficiency for the employer. This year, I saw a great deal more “assets” being added to the management plans—not just rooms or desks. Parking spaces, furniture, cars, and lockers were all included. Also, the integration of digital signage into room management systems allows for information for a specific target group to be presented in the right place and at the right time.
Smart Unified Communications
From big to small spaces (corporate, education, or other), ISE had something for everyone. My favorites were:
- Microphone MIST™ technology from Nureva fills spaces with thousands of virtual microphones so every voice is picked up
- Catchbox, the creators of the first throwable microphone, expanded into stick handheld and clip-wearable mics
Smart Remote Management
The role of IT is ever-expanding, as is the range of remote management (RMM) tools. Poly (owned by HP) have added Poly Lens RMM to its portfolio (as have Jabra), plus an impressive list of partners. For those looking for a device agnostic solutions, every IT Integrator’s dream, Utelogy, has the solution.
Smart Energy and Resource Saving
Amongst all the glitter of UHD 4K displays, it was refreshing to see some vendors focusing on less light emission and less power while discussing the limit to resources and how we use them rationally. Apart from being a room management system, Joan has a refreshing focus on the lowest possible light emission for calmness and the lowest levels of energy consumption through device life longevity. Similarly, the Sharp ePaper concept is an intriguing combination of digital display and zero wattage as another significant step to carbon-neutral.
Smart Modular Solutions
I saw modularity in product design at Sharp NEC that also save resources, with digital displays fitted with processor and PC components that are interchangeable to allow earlier upgrading on hardware that has a 5-8 year lifespan. And it’s not just the components; Neat from Norway has expanded its video conferencing portfolio to offer Neat.pulse as a full service offering for device deployment, support, and extended warranty—the first modular conference as a service package.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
I noticed that almost everyone was claiming certification for Microsoft Teams. I understand that the seamless integration with everyday tools is crucial. No one wants disjointed IT systems.
What I missed was artificial intelligence (AI), which seems to be everywhere currently but not on display at ISE 2024. In truth, I was thankful that it wasn’t being pushed in my face. Instead, one had to dig around to uncover the AI issues that this industry faces. The Ed Tech summit, as a part of the show, had a great session by Dr. Mhairi Aitkin outlining potential risks of data integrity and fake news—this impressed upon us the need to educate about AI. My feeling, however, is that visitors are becoming oversaturated with education programs.
For resellers in IT, AV, and smart workplace, this show is the bee’s knees. It’s the place to see the latest and greatest, to build new contacts, and agree to supply arrangements. I wouldn’t miss it.
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