31 Aug 2022

Integrate 2022 – It’s The Little Things

by Jason Allen

It was a bit of a gamble for everyone, Integrate 2022 at Sydney’s ICC August 17 to 19. A gamble for the exhibitors, who pay serious money to be there, a gamble for those who chose not to exhibit, and also for those who chose to attend. Or not. Despite people’s personal lives having returned more or less to normal post-COVID, business decisions and business travel have a longer path to walk back.

As such, Integrate 2022 was actually quite a small exhibition compared to pre-pandemic. The co-location with the Security Exhibition & Conference was a clever tactic; it made both shows look much bigger than they were, even if most on both sides had no professional interest in the other. We knew our eyes were being deceived to a certain extent, but we didn’t mind.

And we didn’t mind because we were all just so damn happy to be there. It was the vibe of the thing. It was good for the soul and the mind to catch up with people that we in many cases hadn’t seen since 2019. I heard this all over the show floor; “So great to see you! Haven’t seen you since…” There was back slapping, hand shaking, and smiles all round. “We really needed this,” was a sentiment expressed universally.

Days one and two were extremely busy, with high-quality people and conversations. I’d say that it felt just as busy as the recent InfoComm exhibition in Las Vegas. Exhibitors and attendees were absolutely feeling their lack of practice at the end of day two; “I’ve lost my match fitness” was the common refrain.

Supply chain conversations were…interesting. Anyone with reliable supply and stock was very, very vocal about it. Anyone who was facing shortages and long lead times was “actively managing” the situation and really didn’t want to elaborate any further.

It was all about the little things; the smile on a familiar face, the respect between competitors that each had pulled through the last two and half years, the honest conversations about what we’ve all been through. For me personally, it was little things like the airport being busy, the airline lounge being full, the flight schedule normal, and the planes running on time. As someone who has spent a lot of my professional life flying between Sydney and Melbourne, having this part of my routine finally return to pre-pandemic predictability was mentally soothing.

In terms of gear on show, the industry’s ongoing struggle for parts and supply and the recent spate of overseas show and online releases meant nothing on the floor was particularly new or surprising. What did get my attention were the literal little things – tiny bits of tech that are often overshadowed by the big ticket items. Here’s my rundown of my show highlights; the small, useful, clever, affordable, and surprising Little Things.

Evoko Kleeo Desk Manager

Integrating with the rest of Evoko’s room and office management system, as well as Microsoft Outlook, this cute little desk manager signals in colours and text if a hot desk or other is occupied, booked, or free, and by who. In fitting with the times, you don’t have to touch it; it has a proximity sensor, RFID, and is connected to the network.

Nicolaudie Architectural Stick

Nicolaudie Stick KE-2 and CW-4. Sorry about my grubby fingerprints.

With Swiss lighting control brand Nicolaudie having landed at Eventec after their acquisition of LSW Imports, there was a lot of new gear for the team to show off. The Stick family of DMX controllers are five wall mounted controllers with easy Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity for controlling RGB and RGBW lighting systems. You can recall 36 presets, or create your own colours by scrolling!

Blustream Dante Encoder/Decoders

Blustream’s Martyn Shirley with Blustream’s Dante Encoder and Decoder

Dante chip supply, or the lack of, was the talk of yet another trade show. Manufacturers who can supply, either by sheer market size and buying power, or agile rat cunning, are very keen to point out they have stock. Australia’s own Blustream, distributed by Jands, are one of them, and definitely in the cunning category. They’ve basically made their own AVIO adapters. The two Martyn is holding here are the DA11ADE Decoder (Dante in, analog out) and DA11AEN Encoder (analog in, Dante out). Their most noticeable feature is their plentiful existence, and the fact you can buy them!

JBL Control Contractor SLP

JBL Control Contractor SLP 14T and 12T

These Red Dot Design Award winners use the cones and drivers from JBL Control Contractor ceiling speakers and mount them in a cool, sleek surface-mount package. There’s little on the market like them, and they give off an ultra-cool 1980s Bang & Olufsen high-end hi-fi vibe.

Sennheiser Team Connect Intelligent Speaker

Sennheiser Team Connect Intelligent Speaker

This little collaboration system is capable of some pretty clever moves. With seven beamforming mics and an omnidirectional speaker, It integrates into the Microsoft Teams environment, and can provide automatic transcription of meetings with up to 10 participants in 34 languages. The Microsoft Cortana voice assistant built in means you don’t even have to touch it.

Yamaha AG01 and ZG01

It was nice to see Yamaha Commercial Audio back at a trade show after a long hiatus. While their stand was displaying their mighty Rivage PM Series mixing desks, in reality, if you want to buy one, you’re looking at a mighty wait. In true Yamaha fashion, there were two devices on display that made you say “I didn’t know Yamaha made things like that!”, which is a bit silly when you realise the Japanese company also manufactures things like golf clubs and kitchens.

The AG01 is a USB microphone aimed solidly at the live streaming market. It’s got an external input, built-in DSP and mixer, loopback, and can connect directly to mobile devices via USB-C. The ZG01 is a live streaming mixer for gamers. It includes 2 in and 1 out HDMI ports and can function as a 2 input HDMI switcher and HDMI conversion adapter with audio extraction. Audio capabilities include surround processing to stereo, and flexible and easy routing for game and voice audio.

Astera PixelBrick

Less than 10cm square, the Astera PixelBrick has any many uses as a designer could imagine. They can bolt together to form shapes for cool looks. Because they’re battery powered they can go anywhere and do anything. The ones in this pic are wearing one of their many accessories – the BrickDome. Control via the app, wireless or wired DMX, or the control panel on the back.

Allen & Heath Dante I/O

TAG’s Andrew Crawford is as surprised as you that they have stock of Allen & Heath Dante endpoints

Along with all their rack and stagebox options, Allen & Heath make three small Dante endpoints in a DI box form factor; the 2 analog out DT02, two mic pre in DTO, and 2 in, 2 out DT22 with Euroblock connectors. Andrew Crawford here is obviously excited that TAG have plentiful stock of these items, which is not something everyone can say right now!


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