Cabsat returns to normality
Cabsat returns to normality
With the 25th edition of Cabsat returning to its traditional March date and location within the Dubai World Trade Centre, the organisers will be hoping that visitor levels return to normality after suffering a large decline in 2018, when the show was moved to January. Unfortunately, the last minute shrinking of the exhibition space from Hall 1-8 of DWTC to just Halls 2-6, did little to bolster confidence among exhibitors. However, this year there has been several new promising additions to the programme, such as the eSports Pavilion in Hall 3 that explored ways to get involved in business opportunities in the sector, as well as a series of panel discussions at the Content Congress exploring TV consumption trends.
So, with the opening day now over, how has Cabsat 2019 fared so far? ‘These halls definitely seem to suit this show better,’ observed Ryan Burr on the Venuetech stand, located immediately in front of the entrance to Hall 4. ‘In previous editions of Cabsat, we’ve been in halls where I’ve felt the footfall hasn’t been as strong. This year, partly due to our location here in Hall 4, there’s been a very steady flow. Every five minutes I’m dealing with someone new and it’s been a fairly positive experience at the start of the show so far.’
With Cabsat taking place so close to the big international broadcast show that is NAB, it has never been a show for product launches. Yet, having only arrived at the Middle East office that morning, Sennheiser was showcasing the brand new XSW Digital that operates over the 2.4GHz band, as well as a prototype of the soon-to-be released SK-6212 digital mini-bodypack transmitter. Ross Video was another exception last year when it chose to launch a 144x144 version of its Ultrix routing and signal processing platform, a product it credits as being a big driver of growth for the company in the region over the last 12 months.
‘We launched the new Ultrix FR5 last year at Cabsat and it has grown really very quickly to become one of the most successful products that we’ve ever launched. It’s software-defined, so you buy the hardware – one 5U chassis – and then all of the additional features that come online over time are just software keys. This means you don’t have to make difficult hardware decisions up front,’ explained senior communications manager Stuart Russell. ‘It made up practically 30% of our growth in EMEA last year. The appetite for what we’re doing in the region is so much bigger now than it was, even compared to just 12 months ago.’
Capitalising on this success, Ross Video launched a brand new version of Ultrix again at Cabsat this year — version 3.4. ‘It’s a free firmware upgrade for all Ultrix customers that will be ready within the next 30 days and adds some cool new features. Also brand new for the show and launched on day one, is the UltraCool,’ furthered Mr Russell. ‘Not all broadcast equipment gets to live a comfortable life in an air-conditioned rack room, and we’d witnessed customers trying to cobble together a solution to heating made from homemade fans, and foam and ducting. UltriCool is a 1U device that can work with anything in the rack to provide effective additional cooling.’
Also enjoying good footfall thanks to its location at the entrance to Hall 3 was NMK Electronics. While the booth had shrunk compared to previous years, it was still one of the biggest in the three content production halls and offered dedicated sections showcasing its Shure, Avid and Clear-Com brands. Focusing on promoting Avid’s Dolby Atmos integration with the S6 console in combination with the latest Pro Tools software, audio sales manager, Ansgar Liem, had high hopes for this year’s Cabsat. ‘I think the show this year is going to be good for Avid. We’ve changed our go-to-market structure on the audio side of things with a new partner [NMK], and we’re confident we’ll have a tremendous Cabsat that leverages more client interaction and helps us to build up new business opportunities.’
Right down at the end of Hall 2, occupying one of the biggest booths at the show, Oasis Enterprises opted to take the focus away from individual products and promote turnkey solutions based on the brands it distributes. ‘We’re not focusing on any specific product, we offer solutions,’ explained Oasis senior sales engineer, Rajiv K.C. ‘Whether it’s a radio studio, TV studio, we have a solution for that.’ Having attended the show for 19 consecutive years, Mr K.C. is uniquely positioned to judge this year’s success. ‘This is a good Cabsat so far,’ he noted. ‘We’ve had a lot of prospective clients on the booth and we’re glad to be back in these halls again. While the traffic isn’t that busy in the aisles down here, we’re seeing an experienced crowd of people that are coming to discuss specific projects. Business has been good for us.’
While no stranger to Cabsat, having changed distribution last year, Calrec Audio was showcasing its Artemis and Brio.36 consoles as well as Type R radio console (its debut in the Middle East) on the GSL Professional booth at the end of Hall 2 for the very first time. ‘It’s the first time in about 15 years that we haven’t had our own stand’ said Calrec’s Dave Letsom. ‘Up until about 11:30am there was practically no one in this part of the hall, but although this is not a fast show there has been a good, steady flow of customers overall. The quality here is really good.’
Having already launched a number of new products in 2019, TASCAM was also keen to get customers familiar with them on the GSL booth. ‘They’re all here and it’s really new stuff for TASCAM, particularly the AV contracting products,’ explained TASCAM’s Chris Wright. ‘While attendance hasn’t been overwhelming, this is a relationship-building show. We’ve always had people on the booth and it’s been steady. With all the recent new products, I’ve had a lot of explaining to do.’
At the end of the first day it’s still far too early to make any solid conclusions. While the show appeared to get off to a sluggish start, by lunchtime, crowds had begun to fill up the (very wide) aisles, and by the end of the day there was a distinct air of positivity from the majority of exhibitors Pro AVL MEA spoke to, and an almost unanimous agreement that the move back to March and the DWTC’s Halls 2-6, was the right move for Cabsat.
Don't miss our full show coverage of Cabsat 2019 in the May-June issue of Pro AVL MEA.