Round The Benz
Steve Beahan, MD of Invision UK, must have been delighted. At 9am on the first day of his Home Technology Showcase, the punters were already queuing to get in. Indeed, over the full course of two days, custom installers flocked from far and wide for the opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest CI and AV product, chat mano-et-mano with the manufacturers, network with other of their install ilk and, of course, attend info-tastic keynotes.
In total, InvisionUK’s 2016 show attracted a whopping 369 visitors, plus assembled press – namely us and the constantly video camera-carrying Inside CI’s Dave Slater – another record-breaker for InvisionUK and Anthem AV Solutions and a show which worked to assure even the most pessimistic that the industry is back on the up.
The exhibitor list read like a who’s who of home technology’s great and good, in alphabetical order: Anthem, Aquavision, Artnovion, AudioControl, Autonomic, AV Racks, Comelit, Enado, ICE, Janus, JVC, LG, LILIN, Luxul, Moovia, Onkyo, Origin Acoustics, Paradigm, Pioneer, Pro Audio Technology, Pro Control, Rako, RTI, Screen Innovations, SIM2, Sony, Trinnov Audio and Wyrestorm, all of whom brought both their A-game and a selection of top-end tech-kit for the eager visitors to get hands-on with.
HANDS-ON AT HTS
Held at the same venue as last year, 2016’s HTS saw the Mercs remain in place, exhibitor stands surrounding them, adding to the high-end high-tech atmosphere of the show. After all, who wouldn’t drool over the sight of Paradigm’s latest slice of loudspeaker aural sex standing resplendent in the same blue livery as the Merc behind it? Or LG’s eye-openingly awesome OLED option redefining the boundaries of television technology while an AMG broods angrily in front? Nobody, that’s who.
Amongst all the shiny new kit were some shiny new faces too. Trinnov Audio may not be a familiar name yet in the UK industry, but having checked out this French firm’s array of high-end Hi-Fi and Home Cinema kit, I can safely say that, now under Anthem AV Solution’s banner, that is all about to change.
Another fresh face to these shores made their debut at the show was Moovia, a German maker of some seriously stylish home cinema seating. Offering options rather different to the usual, I was particularly taken with their Copenhagen model; as was our drafted-in SVI-extra covering the show, Lorraine, who made herself perhaps a little more comfortable than was strictly necessary in the testing of a chair.
Sony had brought their 4K HDR TV to the show, offering a viewing experience that, really is impossible to describe sufficiently with mere words or, indeed, photographs. Slim, stunning and producing images sharper, more vibrant and more detailed than, well, real life; this is something that can only really be appreciated in person; and once you have appreciated it all the fuss will make perfect sense.
Aquavision was also out in force, displaying a selection of their brilliant waterproof wares, while Origin Acoustics’ stand was an education in how to fit invisible audio perfection into impossibly small holes. And this is just scratching the surface of the wonders on offer to the visiting installers.
But HTS is not just about touching the toys, with 10 keynote addresses available over the two days too, there was plenty of opportunity to hear and learn from the industry’s best. This year’s programme covered all areas of the smarthouse, audio with Dolby, Autonomic, Artnovion, AudioControl and Anthem, security with LILIN and Comelit, wireless enhancement and control with Luxul, and overall industry business advice from SIM2 and Origin Acoustic’s bearded master of music, Jeremy Burkhardt.
Each keynote was well-attended provided fascinating insights into the industry that the busy installer may not have considered before… and which had definitely never occurred to certain members of the attending technology press.
The show remained busy for the whole two days – as suggested by the attendance numbers – making for an event that was bigger and better than ever and nothing less than a hit from start to finish.
The Home Technology Showcase has come a long way since its inaugural event just four years ago. This, of course, leaves Steve Beahan and the team with the problem now of facing up to their success and finding a new venue for HTS 2017 as, growing at the rate it has, even the whole World of Mercedes-Benz won’t be big enough to contain it next year.