Industry & Product News

Sensory Acquires for Speech Technology Testing Capabilities
Sensory, Inc., a Silicon Valley, CA company that pioneered speech recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) in consumer electronics, announced the acquisition of, a software tools and services company that performs benchmarking, accuracy assessments and bias evaluations for speech technologies and natural language interfaces. As part of the acquisition, Sensory will maintain as an independently operated division .    Read More

Digital Voice Assistants in Use to Triple to 8 Billion by 2023
A new study from Juniper Research has found that there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023, up from an estimated 2.5 billion at the end of 2018. The new research on "Digital Voice Assistants: Platforms, Revenues & Opportunities 2019-2023," shows growth will be driven by smart home devices and that Smart TVs will have the biggest expansion, growing at more than 100% every year for the next 5 years. Juniper also identifies strong growth in wearables and emerging opportunities for both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) uses .    Read More

New ANC, True Wireless, and Intelligent Connectivity Sensor Solutions from ams at MWC 2019
ams, a leading worldwide supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, is a rising force in the industry with many important innovations that are meeting next-generation consumer demands. And that includes many of the main market trends for the audio industry, such as hearing enhancers, hearables, voice capture and recognition, and acoustic sensing. The Austrian company will showcase several industry-first technologies for mobile devices at MWC 2019 in Barcelona later this month, including exciting developments in active noise cancelling .    Read More

Focal Unveils Arche DAC & Amplifier and Stellia Closed-Back Headphones
Focal is announcing its first foray into the DAC and amplifier market with the launch of Arche, an audiophile DAC and amplifier that was developed by Micromega for Focal. It combines a digital-to-analog converter, as well as two pure Class-A amplification modes (voltage and hybrid) designed especially for headphones. At the same time, Focal announced a new headphone closed-back model. The Focal Stellia combines sound quality with a more sophisticated style "à la Française."    Read More

Zylia and Infineon Present New Approach to Six Degrees of Freedom Technology in VR/AR at Mobile World 
Zylia, the start-up company that surprised the global market with its spherical microphone array for 3D audio recording and production, together with Infineon Technologies AG, will present an innovative and unique approach to Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) technology in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) during Mobile World Congress 2019 (February 25-28) in Barcelona. According to Zylia, the presentation will offer a valuable contribution to help users stay on top of current trends in the development of VR and AR solutions .    Read More

SAR Insight & Consulting Forecasts Strong Growth for True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Earbuds
True wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds are driving innovation and creating a growth market. Total market revenues for the TWS earbuds market are expected to reach almost $10 billion in 2019, outstripping all other headphone markets, according to the latest research from SAR Insight & Consulting, which reports "the market is expected to grow rapidly over the next 5 years accounting for more than 60% of all wireless stereo headphones shipped by 2023."    Read More

Movers and Shakers: Powersoft Debuts New Powerful Linear Motors at ISE 2019
Since it introduced its M-Force linear motor technology, Powersoft paved the way for a completely new range of applications for low frequency transducers. This in turn attracted companies with interesting ideas and projects, leading the Italian company to expand the research. One result was introduced at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2019 show in Amsterdam, with the first public demonstration of Mover - a small yet incredibly powerful linear transducer that can be used in audio applications and, more excitingly, as a linear motor / shaker .    Read More

Sonos Architectural by Sonance Premium Architectural Speakers Designed for Use with Sonos Amp
When it comes to residential sound, one of the highlights at ISE 2019 was the launch of the new Sonos Architectural by Sonance lineup, the first architectural speakers designed for a specific amplifier. Sonos Amp will automatically recognize the architectural speakers and optimize its output. Taking things one step further, the In-Wall and In-Ceiling speakers will be the first third-party speakers to be TruePlay compatible, making the fine-tune adjustments required during custom installation more seamless than ever .   Read More

Editor's Desk
J. Martins

ISE 2019 - First Impressions
The Force is Strong with This One

The weather forecast for Amsterdam from February 5 to 8 couldn't have been grimmer. And the arrival to Schiphol Airport welcomed visitors with the first signs of snow... And yet, when the 2019 edition of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) opened its doors, no matter the cold, wind, and the rain, the crowds started to flow in impressive numbers to an expanded RAI Amsterdam exhibition complex.

Sure enough, when Mike Blackman, Integrated Systems Events Managing Director, addressed the press before the opening ceremony, he confirmed that pre-registrations for the show were already at a new record, more than 73,000, with 32% of those visitors being first timers! And the show was clearly larger, with 1,301 exhibitors filling every corner of the available space, with the US representing the third largest number of companies (165), just below China and Germany. And visitors to ISE come from all parts of the world. The US had once again more professionals attending the show, even with the fact that ISE is promoted as a joint venture with the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) and the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), both of which promote their own shows in the US.

Ribbon cutting for another edition of ISE. Many thousands of busy professionals have not hesitated to travel to Amsterdam from all over the world. Quite a challenge for an industry that usually promotes events in Las Vegas, NV and Orlando, FL... in June!

Final attendance figures confirmed finally that 81,268 registered visitors made ISE 2019 once again the largest ever, and the world's largest trade show for the professional AV and electronic systems industry. And as Blackman explained, even with the full commitment of the RAI and the city of Amsterdam adding increased floor space (which will be expanded once again with an extra hall in 2020), the promoters have been forced to deny requests from companies to increase their booths.  More importantly, sentiment about the show is as positive as ever, and companies keep rebooking space even before the show is over.

So, why is Integrated Systems Europe such a successful show? Sometimes when we look at trade shows it's easy to forget that the key to the format's success is in the name: "trade".
When there's sellers and people who want/need to buy there's trade. And when trade is strong, success comes naturally.

Unlike some trade show organizers who have handled their "events" as institutions and cultural happenings, ISE always focused on getting business done, and have repeatedly consulted with the exhibitors and visitors on what they should do to improve their experience at the trade show.

This was the best morning weather during ISE 2019, allowing for an outdoor view of the expanded RAI complex. Even in the freezing drizzle of winter, Amsterdamers keep riding their bikes.

Integrated Systems Events, the promoters of the ISE trade show have worked hard to institute the educational, informational, and inspirational forums, and have understood that for trade to flow you need to complete the networking circles, from sellers to buyers, specifiers and end users (and even the specialized press, which is welcomed almost as shareholders, not just visitors). 

In this specific case, with ISE, the promoters also understood particularly well that they were dealing with an expanded format where vendors/manufacturers and service providers were in need of an event to meet with the integrators/installers, and that by opening access to multiple verticals that had previously "siloed" themselves in closed circles (audio, video, lighting, control, digital signage, communications...) the event would quickly flourish and propel the evolution of the market to truly integrated systems. Not according to products, but according to its function and scope: residential, corporate, buildings, public spaces, and cities.

ISE still has space to grow, and the move to Barcelona in 2021 (yes, there's still another year in Amsterdam before the exodus...), will depend on the expansion of this successful formula attracting new verticals. Apart from attracting more audio and AV companies, there's a lot of room to grow in lighting and building automation, security, and communications, including attracting the big IT/networking technology players. And it's not a coincidence that ISE has decided to migrate to Barcelona, happening just a few days before the largest European technology event that also uses the modern Fira de Barcelona facilities: the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC). In a way, it's like the world of wired gets closer to the wireless world.

Audinate grabbed the spotlight once again at ISE 2019, with Dante clearly dominating the show as the industry-leading audio networking technology and practically every audio manufacturer showing Dante-enabled solutions. Now, Audinate announced Dante AV, a first-of-its-kind integrated audio and video-over-IP solution, which will be commercially available to manufacturers in mid-2019.

There's another key factor that's vital to the trade show success equation. Technology evolution.
This is the one factor that makes me endure the extensive traveling and justifies staying weeks away from family, and enduring economy class seats in crammed planes. Because there are exciting technology changes happening and those changes are closely linked with new business opportunities. In the case of ISE that's clearly the evolution in displays, collaboration, control interfaces and, transversal to all systems, IP convergence.

Shows like CES, ISE, and MWC are exciting platforms for technology evolution and understanding the business opportunities that come with it.

Much like the electronica and Embedded World electronics shows in Munich, Germany, are thriving because they are closely linked with exciting opportunities in robotics, automotive, and the IoT, there's a lot to be excited with what's happening at consumer shows such as CES, with voice interfaces, wearables, hearables, connected vehicles, wireless multimedia, displays, and much more; at ISE with IP integration, smart automation, and immersive AV experiences; and MWC with the evolution toward 5G, again IoT, and connected personal/mobile devices in general, to just mention a few dominant topics (there's much more in health, retail, and the digital economy at each of these trade shows).

Buyers and sellers attending these shows, need to be aware and understand the challenges and opportunities of those technology trends. They need to be there first, and attending trade shows where all parties converge, allows exactly that.

d&b audiotechnik continues to inspire the audio industry with its vision for the future of immersive audio in its Soundscape presentations. At ISE 2019, the company impressed with multiple new products developed for audio system installation and integration and of course developments to Soundscape.

Focusing on audio, I think there is a lot happening in terms of technology evolution, as we've been reporting. At ISE, the dominant topic was again IP networking and integration, even if most of the audio companies attending are mostly working on offering a "better mouse-trap," with gradually improving electroacoustic designs, better and more efficient drivers and amplifiers, and so forth. A few, are strongly focused on the future, and getting distributed digital signal processing and networking interfaces to work on their systems... connecting the pieces.

Probably, the only thing that needs to be improved for ISE when it moves to Barcelona, will be changing the name of the event to Integrated Systems Expo :)


R&D Stories
The Korg Nutube 6P1
By  Pete Millett
Sometimes it might seem as if any interest in tubes is always about looking back in time. But with consumer's interest in "tube sound" continuing to grow, there are companies looking at the future of tubes in a different way. This article provides an overview of the Korg Nutube 6P1, a new, miniature, low-power dual directly-heated triode device. It was developed by Korg (of musical instrument fame) and Noritake Itron, a manufacturer of vacuum fluorescent displays, in Japan. Although it is a true directly heated triode, it is manufactured differently than traditional vacuum tubes, which gives it some unique attributes. This article was originally published in audioxpress, May 2017 .   Read the Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Punktkilde FSB611015-1400 1.5" Full-Range Driver
By Vance Dickason
Compact 1" to 2.5" diameter full-range drivers (micro speakers) are finding broad applications in smart speakers, soundbars, and portable Bluetooth speakers. If you are not familiar with Eastech, the company was founded in 1971 and has approximately 6,000 global employees including more than 150 engineers specialized in acoustics, electronics, hardware, software, and systems engineering. With more than 120 different active patents - and now as the parent company of Scan-Speak - Eastech is publicly listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and has shipped more than 300 million transducers in the last 10 years. This Test Bench examines the FSB611015-1400 neodymium full-range driver from Eastech's "designed in Denmark" Punktkilde line. This is a 1.5" diameter 4 Ω full-range driver built on a proprietary stamped frame that is fully vented below the spider mounting shelf with four 3 mm × 8 mm slots for enhanced cooling. Additional cooling is provided by a 6 mm diameter pole vent. The cone assembly consists of a paper cone, with a 20 mm diameter Tetoron dome for a dust cap (sort of a cone/dome format), and suspended with a NBR surround and a flat cloth spider (damper). Powering the cone assembly is a neodymium ring magnet motor with a bumped backplate, driving a 0.6" voice coil wound with copper-clad aluminum on a Kapton former. Tinsel leads connect on one side of the cone to a pair of solderable terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, November 2018 .   Check it out here!

AX March 2019: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC February 2019: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More