WHEN DID SNEAKERS BECOME ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS ATTIRE?

Deborah Hawkins
Feb 11, 2019

I haven’t done the rounds of many exhibitions the last few years. My focus area of office print is generally served by Vendor specific events and the one global event the industry had, CeBIT has now finally been put to bed. So I was quite surprised at my first visit to ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) 2019 in Amsterdam. It was full, thriving and so many people were wearing sneakers.

Does this have something to do with the meeting of two worlds that ISE has emerged from?  The vibrant Audio Visual (AV) high tech hardware focussed industry and the IT world that can integrate practically anything without having to heed to standards or obligations?

Founded in 2004 and boosting 3500 visitors that year, the exhibition has grown to some 1400 exhibitors and an expected 90,000 visitors in 2019. For me, it felt far more than that. The growth has undoubtedly been supported by the portfolio breadth of AV boasting 8k, curved as well as inflatable screens and flashy displays and its acceptance across many horizontal and vertical sectors. What attracted me most to the show however, was the connection to IT and looking at how the AV industry hooks up with business IT, the hub of our digital world today. I see a lot of parallels to the office printing industry and I knew this industry was in a similar stage of disruption when I saw the likes of Google & Uber speaking about workplace trends at ISE 2019.

Office Print is definitely not as arty or creative as AV. At ISE 2019, Barts Kresa’s Sviatovid sculpture was revealed. A five metre high projection in cooperation with Panasonic took audio-visual Art to a new level. But many themes were similar to the printing world: security, cloud, data analytics, scalability, face recognition and flexibility all dependent on software expertise and waiting for strong Integrators to implement the next level of experience.

One of the big bridges between office equipment and AV is of course collaboration tools driven by the focus on the transformation of the workplace, adapted to differing generational and perhaps fashionable working styles. It’s not just about sneakers. It’s about the whole employee experience. I was able to see a breadth of smart workplace tools including:

  • Interactive door signs such as those from Add-On Products
  • Room and people navigation solutions such as from Nimway
  • Windows Collaboration display from Sharp including sensors that measure room wellbeing
  • “Office caravans” (note the Dutch influence here) at Nook, boasting workplace optimisation and wellness.
  • Workspace optimisation managers such as iOffice that displayed together with Ricoh
  • Room Managers like Evoko or resource schedulers like Joan

At Keypoint Intelligence we have already started to track the market for Smart Workplace solutions. Initial research has shown that companies are far more likely to invest in automation solutions (document, HVAC and voice-controlled) and smart security cameras than Robots or meeting room software.

Of all the technologies discussed, which will your company most likely invest in?

It seems that meeting room software that has had high take-ups the past years and their are already many players out there offering solutions. The AV industry also cites similar worries to the printing world such as around security and the fact that people don’t want to be tracked and view tracking tools with suspicion. There has to be an opt-in and an opt-out function and the user and business experience has to balance with privacy. Who businesses plan to buy smart workplace tools from however, is still a very open map. And this is a big window of opportunity for AV providers as well as office print vendors. The adjacency with office equipment is quite clear and the coming years will determine which vendors can grab a piece of the Smart Workplace space.

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