10 Years of Integrate
Text:/ Christopher Holder
Integrate turns 10! What better time to dig up some photos from the vault?!
The year was 2009 and Alchemedia Events was launching its inaugural gathering: Integrate.
It would be a cliché to say the beginnings were ‘humble’. The facts of the matter were, the moment we went to the industry with an idea for a tradeshow and said we were thinking of calling it Integrate, everyone got it. Actually, the industry probably got it even better than we did.
Our big idea was to gather the audio, lighting and AV tribes into one big technology love-in. In the end, the market knows best and the market wanted an InfoComm/ISE-style show for Australia.
Voilà, this is show you see now.
The first Integrate was staged in Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter — the Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries, to be precise. The venues had charm: the Hordern, dark and brimming with rock ’n’ roll cred; the RHI, bright, light and clean cut, perfect for the rapidly emerging world of commercial AV. But again the market knows best, and the market wants its showpiece AV show to be domiciled in the best Australia has to offer. Which is why, after the sale of the show to Diversified Communications, Integrate is calling MCEC and the ICCS home.
The first show went hard with a serious education program, which was warmly received and set the template for future Integrates. There was a full day of InfoComm (now Avixa) training and audio legend George Massenburg (pictured) was a guest of honour. It was something we hadn’t seen before in these parts. People were thirsty for the training and education and enthusiastically signed up.
Everyone in the world of trade shows knows that Day 2 is often the best attended. Everyone except us. Day 1 attendance was solid but unspectacular, leaving our nerves jangling. We hoped for Sydney weather to be kind on Day 2 and for people to turn up. They did. It was a bustling show that was almost universally appreciated by exhibitors and show-goers alike.
MATURING WITH THE MARKET
In the time since Diversified Communications took the show on, Integrate has continued to mature, reflecting the growth of the commercial AV market, eclipsing the scale and importance of entertainment technology, home AV, and audio shows of the past.
Show Director, Soren Norgaard, has presided over much of the growth: “Integrate’s growth has been more in the commercial AV industry’s development rather than in the number of exhibitors, which has reached a stable number of about 130 or so. Regional distributors are representing more brands while the larger display manufacturers are requiring more floor space as they demonstrate their equipment in application specific showcases.”
And here’s where the show has moved and morphed with the demands of the market. AV’s role is increasingly to excite the market with amazing user experiences rather than its ability to plumb signals from A to B. It’s harder to fire the imagination with endless racks of gear than it is with a retail, hospitality, or boardroom experience.
Soren Norgaard is more than aware of the push and pull of market forces and the shifting tectonics of technology, and what it can do for (and to) a show like integrate. In the meantime he’s raising the profile of the show regionally and internationally. For examples, dozens of delegates attended from Indonesia in 2017 while more of the New Zealand industry is making the trip over the ditch. A strong education emphasis remains.
As the instigator of the show, Alchemedia wishes to join with Soren and his team in tipping our hat to the industry for getting behind Integrate. A mature industry needs a strong trade show, and Integrate is one we can all be proud of.