Special Reports

Prolight + Sound 2016: Shining Bright

940 exhibitors and 45,000-odd participants at Prolight + Sound 2016 were happy with the organizers of the event, especially with the international mix of the audience.

One of the highlights of Prolight + Sound 2016 has always been the presentations at the event. This time around, the bar was raised higher because the audience comprised 45,000 visitors from 121 countries, while the select speakers from 940 exhibitors from 47 countries were chosen to make the presentations at the International Fair of Technologies and Services for Entertainment, Integrated Systems and Creation. The result was a healthy exchange of ideas on how the lighting and sound industry was evolving.

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Held from 5th to 8th April, 2016 at Frankfurt am Main, the top 10 visiting nations 2016 were Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, China and Sweden. “This year’s Prolight + Sound demonstrated the creative and economic potential of event technology and was able to exploit the positive business climate in the sector in full. Thanks to the new concept, the fair has been able to increase its significance in many different respects, e.g., as a showroom and market place, as well as an information and networking platform”, said Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

POSITIVE RESPONSE TO CONCEPTUAL CHANGES
For the first time, Prolight + Sound was held on the eastern section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, offering optimum presentation facilities for the event industry. In response to demand from the sector, the fair was held on four business days and took place concurrently with Musikmesse thus safeguarding the valuable synergistic effects generated by the two fairs.

The new concept met with great approval from most trade associations. Helge Leinemann, Deputy Chairman of the Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany (Verband für Licht-, Ton- und Veranstaltungs-technik – VPLT), said, “From the point of view of the VPLT, Prolight + Sound 2016 was a complete success. The new concept of Messe Frankfurt is spot on target and fully in line with developments in the sector. Event technology continues to boom. We are very proud to support Prolight + Sound as a conceptual partner.”

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Joachim König, President of the European Association of Event Centres (Europäischer Verband der Veranstaltungs-Centren – EVVC) added, “Once again, Prolight + Sound has demonstrated its position as the leading trade fair for event technology. Well-known and unknown exhibitors, big players and newcomers – all are to be found at Prolight + Sound. The extensive conference programme at Prolight + Sound included interesting events for both beginners and ‘old hands’ and this alone would be a good reason for making the trip to Frankfurt. The new layout is also highly successful and was undoubtedly the right decision.”

Key players of the event-technology sector were also delighted with the course of business. “For us, the new concept of Prolight + Sound is spot on. We had significantly more visitors than last year and were very successful in attracting new customers and making valuable contacts to retailers from Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa,” said Jörg Zimmermann, Sales & Purchasing Manager, JB-Lighting.

Martin Fournier, Sales Director South & Central Europe, Martin Professional ApS, stated that his company had a successful run at the event. “We liked the new Hall 4.0 and our exhibition stand was full of visitors throughout the fair. Moreover, thanks to the new sequence of days, many of the visitors were professionals.”

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Moving to the eastern section of the exhibition centre gave several exhibitors the chance to increase the size of their exhibition stands in comparison to previous years. Jochen Froh, Director Business Development, L-Acoustics Sas, explained: “We were able to almost double the area occupied, a long-held wish that the new location made possible. Now, we have lots more space to receive our customers and were also able to redesign our stand. For us, the fair has been extremely good.”

DEMONSTRATING INNOVATION

After years of growth, the turnover of the event-technology sector is approaching the €4 billion mark. According to a new GfK study commissioned jointly by the VPLT and Messe Frankfurt, 47% of the market participants interviewed anticipate slight to considerable increases in turnover – only 6% predict a decline. The positive business climate in the sector is the result of an unbroken, high level of demand for creative, professional, safe and innovative events, as well as technical progress accompanied by numerous factors promoting growth.

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The innovative capacity of the sector was also clearly visible at this year’s Prolight + Sound. In six exhibition halls, visitors were able to see what turns an event into a spectacular occasion. For example, the fair presented developments in the field of laser technology that not only make projections sharper and more brilliant but also extend the colour spectrum.
Such equipment is becoming more sophisticated and user friendly – and is used not only on show stages but also in museums, planetariums and fun-fair rides. Some manufacturers are getting into position for the major sporting events of the year with mobile video screens. LED technology is becoming increasingly flexible and is also fitted, for example, to innovative furnishings, such as multi-media lamps, bar tables with built-in screens and video dance floors.

Another highlight at Prolight + Sound was camera drones offering aerial photos in full HD quality transmitted live on a screen. The field of 3D mapping has also developed into a driving force for sales. Thus, Panasonic presented a model of the world’s biggest façade projection, which was unveiled in Moscow last year.

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“At Prolight + Sound, we find exactly the right audience for our products. We are particularly pleased with the high degree of internationality at the fair and can thus give this year’s edition a positive rating”, said Monica Schwippl, Project Sales Manager of Panasonic Marketing Europe. Companies in the audio sector also used Prolight + Sound as a launching pad for their innovations.

“There is a trend towards digital column loudspeakers at present, and they have a great potential. We presented a prototype at last year’s Prolight + Sound. Now we are on the threshold of production and have the finished products on show here. We have been taking part in the fair for many years. The visitor standard is high and the visitors to our exhibition stand show a highly informed interest in our products,” said Lars Heinrich, Sales and Marketing Manager, Kling & Freitag GmbH.

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