Audio is higher on the agenda at this year’s PLASA Show. There is an increase in representation from manufacturers, whether exhibiting in their own right, or in partnership with their dealers and distributors; within the seminar programme with sessions such as Pin the Mic on the Actor, AV Installation Strategy for Venue Owners and Beyond Surround – immersive sound techniques; and educational events like Audinate’s Dante Training Programme and
Merlijn Van Veen’s Low Frequency Control primer, proving particularly popular.
With the first day of the show completed, there is a definite air of optimism around Olympia, particularly from the audio fraternity. We talked to some returning exhibitors and some first timers to see exactly what it is that is making this such a positive experience for them.
“PLASA needs people from the audio industry to get behind it,” says SFL managing director Tom Jeffery, a first time exhibitor at PLASA and their presence has been prompted by their appointment as a d&b audiotechnik sales partner. “We’re going through a change in our industry. PLASA needed to adapt and I think that process has started. We’ve known PLASA’s new managing director Peter Heath for a long time through Roland and it’s great to have that fresh blood coming in.
“I think the venue change is great. I like the fact that it has natural daylight and I like being upstairs. We came away from yesterday having had some great conversations with existing customers and with people we didn’t already know.
“We’re here to support our dealers,” adds d&b’s Gianni Abruzzese. “It’s ideal for us to partner with them here and means that our customers don’t need to search out the companies that they can buy from, or who can work with them on their projects once they’ve seen us.”
“We knew we needed to raise our B2B narrative as we’re a little bit under the radar,” says Tom. “It was time for people to find out about us. We decided PLASA was the perfect place for us to do that.”
SSE’s Alex Penn feels that PLASA being in London is important for them because it is a key market for the company.
“It’s probably the area in the UK where we see the most opportunity for us to increase our market share,” he says. “From a customer perspective, it’s much better to be speaking to service companies such as SSE Audio Group/Wigwam. That way they’re liaising directly with the people that will be supplying them with both products and services. As we represent a range of different manufacturers, we’re perfectly placed to do that.”
“As the UK is a key market for us, it’s important for us to be present at PLASA and we’re very pleased to be a part of the SSE stand again this year,” says L-Acoustics’ Mary Beth Henson. “The new location in the heart of London seems to have energized the show and we are especially heartened that PLASA is working to expand the audio content.”
Tim Shaxson from digital mixing console manufacturer, DiGiCo, adds, “We’re being represented by the SSE Audio Group and Autograph, who both have the new DiGiCo S31 on their stands and are showing our Stealth Core 2 software on the SD Series consoles. As the manufacturer, it’s good to be supporting our UK dealers. Both SSE and Autograph have done a great job in representing us here.”
“In these three days at the show, I get to see around 60 percent of my clients,” says Autograph’s Peppe Mallozzi. “It would take me a year to go round and see all those people otherwise. We’re very pro PLASA.”
“We need to be here and we want to be here,” adds Autograph’s Ben Treadwell.
For loudspeaker manufacturer Adamson, their presence at the show coincides with the appointment of a UK distributor.
“Historically, we didn’t have a distributor in the UK,” says Adamson’s European sales manager Jasper Ravesteijn. “Recently we found a very good one in The Warehouse Sound, who are exclusively selling our products in the UK. Our growth is very natural, but very fast, particularly within Europe so it’s a logical thing to be here and support our new distributor and to maximise the support we want to offer in the UK.
“The first day was very good. We met with the main players in the UK market and we know that we have more to see today. These are the people we want to be in touch with.”
Another manufacturer that has its own stand for the first time is EM Acoustics, which is showing APS, a new range of self-powered loudspeakers. “It’s working very well for us,” says EM’s managing director Mike Wheeler.
“Connecting with people here has been great,” concludes Tom Jeffries. “This isn’t just about gaining new customers, it’s about the networking opportunities. We’ve designed our stand to encourage conversation, rather than having lots of big toys. People do business with people and we’re here to do just that?”
Hi res image available for download from http://gasolinemedia.jalbum.net/PLASA_Day_2/