PALME 2008 organiser IIR Exhibitions has hailed the event a success, reporting an increase in both attendance and floor space, but that statement has been met with a mixed response from some exhibitors.
Event director Alex Heuff claims PALME 2008 was the most successful instalment of the industry event to date, with more than 8500 visitors attending the exhibition over the three days, which housed 272 exhibitors representing 800 different companies.
"PALME 2008 was visually stunning and exhibitor feedback has been very positive. Compared to 2007 figures, exhibition floorspace increased by 20%, which was matched by a corresponding increase in the number of visitors," Heuff says.
According to Heuff, more regional and international visitors are attending PALME each year, cementing the show's credentials as a key international trade show for the pro light and sound, AV and systems integration industries.
"We achieved 40% rebooking onsite with many clients doubling the size of their stands for 2009, which is another indication the show met its key objective for the clients who took part," Heuff claims.
Although Heuff says crowd attendance was up on last year and exhibitor feedback was "very positive", feedback received from some exhibitors surveyed by S&S was less encouraging.
SAE Institute's associate regional director for Asia and the Middle East, Alexander Gehrig, says the marketing concept for PALME needs to be readdressed if IIR wants it to expand next year.
"IIR needs to readdress the show's marketing concept, its timing, size and who they are targeting it at. Nobody really knows about it. It may be that the market is still too immature here in Dubai," Gehrig claims.
Gehrig says he would like to see PALME run along similar lines to the industry's biggest annual event, Prolight + Sound held in Frankfurt.
"Prolight + Sound is well-established, everyone from pro audio to musical instrument manufacturers are there," he says.
"PALME is not delivering what we need and I think the alarm bells of the organisers should be ringing. We won't be participating next year and we are not the only ones who have made that decision.
Venuetech director of sales Charbel Zoghbi agreed with Gehrig's sentiments, adding that this year's show did not attract the number of high-quality delegates he was expecting.
"The show was very slow in terms of business sales and it didn't attract the kind of delegates we were hoping to see," Zoghbi says.
"In my opinion, I think our money could be better spent on another form of marketing and we will have to carefully consider if PALME is the best thing for us to be involved with in the future."
These comments have been echoed by other UAE-based companies that have been participating in PALME, many since its inception.
Despite some conflicting views of PALME's 2008 success, it did provide a platform for companies to network and to showcase new products.
PALME hosted the world premiere of new product launches from several companies, including Barco, Mackie, Tannoy, Senheiser, Reference Labs and Galtec.
This year also witnessed the re-launch of the Event 360 Exhibition, which Heuff says will be expanded for 2009 as the events industry continues to develop.
"Event 360 is a unique event dedicated to event organisers and suppliers, who plan, market, develop and manage everything from trade exhibitions to public events. Conference delegates benefited from the insight provided by keynote speakers on hosting world class events," Heuff says.
New to the Event 360 Exhibition this year was the concept of a live stage. Heuff says it was introduced to provide performers with an official area where they could showcase their talent.
Entertainment specialist Powerhouse was responsible for managing the live stage, which proved to be extremely popular with delegates on the showfloor.
The stage housed seamless plasma screens blended with spandex fabric, lighting fixtures from Robe and Lightsky, while the sound reinforcement system featured Swiss-made Delta Loudspeakers.
To ensure visitors could immerse themselves in the "live" experience, Powerhouse provided a lounge area surrounding the stage incorporating a seating area with illuminated cocktail tables.
A new feature to PALME this year was the Smart Residential Technologies Zone, which was presented in conjunction with installation partner EON.
EON launched its latest cutting-edge technologies in the install field, which it presented to the public through a fully automated apartment for modern living covering 80sqm.
It combined state-of-the-art home automation and digital technology and solutions, with an interactive walk-through shopping experience for the retail trade.
"This went down particularly well with the consultants, technicians and systems integrators, who attended the exhibition to see the latest cutting-edge technologies in a working environment," states Heuff.
EON's chief operating officer, Fayssal Daoud, claims PALME offered a platform for EON to network and promote itself to its target market.
"PALME enabled us to engage with the industry's key decision makers and placed us amongst the main players in the region," Daoud says.
Install 2008 also expanded this year with hi-end AV equipment and systems integration technologies covering 6000sqm.
Heuff says Install is now firmly established as the region's leading trade show for AV and systems integration specialists.
"It attracts specialised retailers, hospitality venue managers, installers, contractors, developers, consultants, MEPs, architects and designers catering to the rapidly expanding residential and commercial sectors across the region," he claims.
Next year, Heuff predicts PALME will showcase a greater number of cutting-edge technologies from leading companies, including Extron, Ateis, AMX, Opus Technologies and Christie.
He says additional seminars, workshops and roundtable conferences will also be included to discuss developments within the AV and systems integration industries and in addition the induction of a new conference programme.
Musac 2008 proved to be successful with exhibitors noting a marked improvement from 2007 and "exceptionally high" levels of international interest ensuring the show's continued expansion in 2009.
An annual highlight of PALME is the DJ competition, which this year attracted the involvement of more than 50 amateur and professional DJs from across the region.
The highly sought after title, PALME DJ of the Year, was won by 23 year-old Iranian, Amin Golestan.
DJ Amin overwhelmed the competition to take the title, absorbing both judges and crowd alike in his 10-minute live performance at PALME," Heuff says.
According to Heuff, PALME 2009 will again feature many exhibitors who have long supported the exhibition since its inception six years ago, but he predicted to see more manufacturers participating as market demand grows.
"The UAE is dominated by distributors, but more and more manufacturers are taking charge and setting up there own offices within the free zones to offer a more personal service that can cater to client needs," Heuff claims.
"Many products require specific training and knowledge and I think you will start to see more manufacturers participate in PALME in 2009 as a result.
Additionally, Heuff says PALME 2009 will see the introduction of two new national pavilion groups from Germany and the UK, which he claims will inevitably bring more new and innovative product launches to the region.
• FOH System
• 24 x LA2005sp Delta ultra-compact self powered line array.
• 6 x LF H1021 Delta low-frequency horn.
• 6 x Delta AMP2000 amplifiers.
• 2 x EV DX 38 speaker management systems.
• 1 x Powerhouse effects rack.
Side Fill System
• 4 x LF R1018 Delta subs.
• 2 x FR R012 Delta tops.
• 2 x Delta AMP2000 amplifiers.
• 1 x EV DX 38 speaker management system.
• 1 x Soundcraft Vi4 desk.
• Assorted Shure and Sennheiser mics.
• L-Acoustics 112p115XT and Mackie SRM 450.
• Yamaha Stage custom drum kit with K Series Zildjian cymbals.
• Yamaha Baby grand piano.
• Yamaha S90 keyboard.
• Fender Twin Reverb for lead guitar.
• Trace Elliot AH1000 12 Head with 1048H + 1518 for bass guitar.
• 8 x Nos Robe Colorspot 1200ATs.
• 10 x Nos Robe Colorspot 700E ATs.
• 10 x Nos Robe Colorwash 700E ATs.
• 16 x Nos Robe Colorspot 575s.
• 16 x Nos Robe Colorwash 575s.
• 8 x Nos Lightsky MR 600 Spots.
• 2 x Nos Lightsky MR 1200 Spots for Gobo Projections of Logo on to circular.
• 2 x bars ACL.
• 6 x Fresnels.
• 4 x Source Four Profiles.
• 1 x Avolites Pearl 2008.
• 14 x LED RGB colour changers.
• 12m X 12m Box Truss (using 4 Lodestar Motors).
• 6M Diameter Circular truss draped with Spandex Screen and 4 arms.
• (Using 4 Lodestar Motors from the Ceiling and Arms supported by Gorund Support using 8 Lodestar Motors).
• 12 x Nos seamless plasma screens.
• Arkaos graphics controllers.
• 1 x Octo Vue FX switcher.
• Strips of Spandex provided a backdrop for using Gobos and colour washes.