Sound & Stage 2015 Review

A selection of companies look back on their highlights from the past 12 months
2015, Companies, Dubai, Events industry, Middle East, Year in review, SPECIAL REPORTS

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A selection of companies look back on their highlights from the past 12 months...

Neumann & Müller Event Technology
Comments by Rick Wade, general manager

S&S: What were the major highlights for Neumann&Müller during the past year?
2015 has been a tremendous year for Neumann&Müller Event Technology. We have planned and realised technical concepts for corporations and agencies that are the leaders in their field in the Middle East and globally. Our clients have increasingly raised the bar in terms of expectations of quality and delivery and N&M have been extremely well placed to meet those demands — this is evident with three examples of exceptional events that we were awarded.

The largest corporate Gala Award Dinner the ME region has ever hosted — Nu Skin China — invited 16,000 top sales performers to Dubai for its anniversary celebration. This was a two-night Gala Award Dinner staged at the Meydan Arena and choreographed by Andree Verleger, whose credentials include the award-winning Dubai 2012 New Year’s Eve celebrations — another N&M successful project.

Together with the 2015 Museum of the Future Government Services, a three-day immersive experience featured at the Government Summit in Dubai. The UAE Prime Minister’s Office engaged some of the world’s leading futurists, designers to conceptualise, design, and prototype new technologies. We were awarded the project for the second year in a row.

Both of these projects supported us in winning the MEEA 2015 ‘Supplier of the Year’ award — given amongst high calibre competition for an ‘excellent product or excellent service delivery’. We are also proud to be working with HQ Creative again for the second consecutive year on the National Day Celebrations in Dubai — that is a testament to the teamwork ethic we aim for.

S&S: Has N&M made any major changes, purchases or expansions during 2015?
We are always investing in our equipment, technology and people and, during the summer months and over Ramadan, we merged our offices to one key hub in Dubai Investment Park.

This allows us to ensure we are fully engaged and efficient between our warehouse team and all our project managers — communication is key to any successful project and it made sense to integrate our teams under one roof to gain maximum efficiency that can benefit our clients.

We have invested in lighting that will be used on several new project and we also have new 3.5mm LED screens available from December.

N&M has also gained the seal of approval from the German Testing Institute for Event Technology (DPVT), whereby companies in the event technology industry can have their work certified by the Deutsche Prüfstelle für Veranstaltungstechnik GmbH (DPVT) according to the new SR 6.0 branch standard. N&M was one of the first companies in Germany to be successfully put through this rigorous certification procedure.

S&S: What do you feel has changed or improved in the events industry this year?
The Dubai event market had a major boost of energy when Dubai won the right to host World Expo 2020. We have already undertaken several Expo awareness projects that have been activated across the emirates in a knowledge roadshow. The Expo has attracted many new companies to the region but it is still imperative to have quality over quantity — our clients are looking even more for effective delivery and the type of events that we are now seeing in the region require the latest technology.

Today the term ‘attendee’ is outdated — for 2016 ‘participant’ is the accurate term, with interactive involvement of conference and meeting participants. We have recognised this and will continue to develop our own Event IT solutions like come2interact and come2present — interactive conference and meeting applications and the congress and meeting presentation network. I think we need to treat events more like campaigns rather than single events, because the pre-event activity and the post-event activity become really important to extending its life.

S&S: How has N&M managed to maintain its position as a leader in the market?
Our strengths and the way we think makes us stand out from the crowd in terms of efficiency and quality — in the planning, the execution and, of course, in the choice of technical equipment. At N&M we believe you should stay true to who you are. We are experts in event technology — audio, lighting, video, rigging, staging, conferencing, event IT and content production. We do not — and will not — diversify into areas just for showmanship and flavour of the month. We are staying true to our expertise.

S&S: How is N&M planning to build on its successes of 2015 over the next year?
N&M has been committed to the region since 2006 and will continue to invest and expand our business model as experts in event technology. The region is a fast-paced, diverse and dynamic market, and our investment is also in our people, innovation and technology. We are looking forward to 2016 and we are very proud to be 2015’s ‘Supplier of the Year’.

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Creative Technology
Comments by Andrew Reardon, managing director

S&S: What was the major highlight for Creative Technology during 2015?
Our biggest highlight has been the restructure and growth of the Creative Technology Middle East team. We have invested in a number of new technicians but also moved around some of our senior management positions. We have a strong project management team in Dubai and Doha respectively — Ed Jarman and James Crump oversee the project delivery in Dubai and Barry Collins, alongside Bob Aitkenhead, in Doha. Mark Woodhouse is still the active general manager in Dubai, while Irum Ashraf has moved from overseeing the business development to the position of general manager in Qatar — it’s great for CT Middle East to have a female in such a prominent position. We have also progressed our venue operations by taking on another five star hotel in Qatar as the in-house AV provider. We expect this to open in January 2016 and we believe this will be fantastic to CT and its continuous growth within this sector.

S&S: Have there been any notable expansions or purchases at Creative Technology this year?
The biggest expansion we have had is the investment in LED as a group. We currently hold over 1000sqm of various LED product in the region — this allows us a lot more scope to deliver some of the bigger projects that we are seeing, specifically in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We have also now outgrown our location in Dubai. With the growth of the team and equipment our facilities are now getting stretched so we are investing in a state of the art facility and we hope to be in the new location by mid-2016. We are not in a hurry to take anything we just need to make sure it works with our company’s expansion, including safe and secure storage for our equipment, a prep area for equipment going out on projects, and also great facilities for our office staff with its own parking, kitchen, restrooms and so on.

S&S: What do you feel has changed most in the events industry throughout 2015 and how has it affected CTME?
Health and safety seems to have become quite a prominent influence on many projects recently. There seems to be a greater awareness now within the industry of maintaining standards out here as we would do in the UK or other parts of the world. This push also ensures that any of the non-compliant companies are being removed, or slowly closing before re-establishing themselves with better and clearer H&S policies. We are also experiencing the fact that clients are still coming to key suppliers for their single point service. We delivered some large projects last year for our knowledge and understanding in broadcast and cameras, and we are currently working on a project in the emirates which involves 300sqm of our 6mm Panasonic LED product and 200sqm of the 20mm.

S&S: How do you feel that CTME has managed to stay ahead of its main competitors this past year?
I believe that us streamlining our operation into one CTME unit has really helped us stay ahead of the game. We are able to cross share equipment more effectively, which allows us to then pass savings to clients. We are also able to utilise the great technical team that sits amongst the two offices and, when needed, have them move into Qatar or the emirates to help deliver projects. These past few months have seen some great examples whereby, at present, we have two members of the Qatar team in Dubai delivering shows. In December we will be involved in Qatar National Day, which is spread over two sites. Again, for this, we are calling upon some of our technicians in Dubai to help support our local team.

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Procom Middle East
Comments by Rami Harfouch, business development manager

Over the past year, Procom has strengthened its position as the one-stop-shop for professional audio, lighting, video and rigging equipment in the Middle East on three fronts: strengthening of its sales and technical teams, training and client support, and expansion of its warehousing and logistics operations in the UAE.

Procom has continued to hire top talent to better service its clients and expand into new sales channels. It has also launched a continuous training initiative in its showroom including training on stage visualisation and 3D mapping. Procom also co-organised flagship training with Philips Entertainment that gathered industry professionals from the Middle East. In order to accommodate this, Procom has expanded its office and showroom space, in addition to its stocking capacity, to cater to a growing client base and faster delivery time.

In 2015, Procom had the chance to showcase its equipment and capabilities by supplying and commissioning White Dubai — the largest clubbing venue in the Middle East. The venue includes a video wall powered by the Avolites media server, in addition to over 300 moving heads and a moving truss. The venue showcases the capability of Procom in video mapping, lighting control and rigging, and the sort of support that Procom can provide to rental companies.

In 2016, the company will continue to support its clients by complementing its products with top industry brands — namely for the audio segment. Procom will also be launching new services to cater to the events and entertainment industries.

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Eclipse Group
Comments by Simon Ransom, Group COO

2015 has been a huge year for the eclipse Group and we’re immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved as well as of every member of our team, without whom none of this would have been possible. Although the group is comprised of several unique event technology suppliers, each company has worked together to benefit the wider organisation in terms of awareness and development.

For eclipse Staging Services, notable highlights include being appointed the Middle East events industry’s employer of the year, along with the launch of our internship programme and participation in the Eventice competition. We’ve also been focused on developing our skills and inventory in each department and feel that the advances that we’ve made are a real credit to the business.

In terms of expansion, the addition of Stage FX to the group in May and the continued growth of eclipse Venue Services — which took on the in-house AV supply of the JW Marriott Marquis in June — have been key to our plans and see the beginning of a trend that will continue into 2016 and beyond. Laser Grafix has also had a successful year, having launched the new Starbeam laser, which was designed and built in-house.

Over the past year, the eclipse Group has grown significantly in staff, inventory and square footage, as well as with new partnerships and business opportunities. Since the beginning of the year, we have employed 35 new staff members across the group in various departments. Each department has significantly expanded their artillery, particularly in audio and power, while a new exclusive partnership with Faber Audiovisuals and the purchase of two Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 Taiga media servers have significantly bolstered our video offering. The Group has also expanded its special effects offering, with Stage FX extending its stock of Sunshine flames — currently the largest flames available in the region — and Flair adding a wide range of additional inventory including neon paint launchers and CO2 jets, as well as doubling its inventory of confetti launchers.

With rapid expansion across the group, it became apparent this year that we had outgrown our existing premises so, in September we took possession of six additional warehouses, which has essentially tripled our storage and workspace capacity, as well as giving us space to accommodate further expansion plans.

In addition to our ongoing focus on the development of all disciplines across the group, we plan to begin phase two of our audio developments in 2016 and will also be starting a similar project with the eclipse Staging Services video department, aimed at improving our offering in this area. Flair will also be adding to its LED and audio inventories. Additionally, we will be further refining our internal processes and procedures to maximise our operational efficiencies, which will allow us to offer an even swifter and smoother service to our clients.

We have also recently put in place a WYSIWYG lighting design studio and will shortly be launching that service to our customers.

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Clay Paky
Comments by Davide Barbetta, marketing production manager

S&S: What has been the major highlight or highlights for Clay Paky during the past 12 months?
Over 60 Clay Paky Mythos fixtures lit the famous ‘Tree of Life’ sculpture for the Milan Expo 2015, in a stunning light show conceived by renowned lighting designer Koert Vermeulen of ACT Lighting Design. In terms of local projects, 24 Clay Paky K20 B-Eye and 8 Mythos fixtures were used for the main stage at this year’s Games15 Middle East, the premier gaming event in the region, and the main stage at Lady Gaga’s live concert at Meydan last December featured many Clay Paky fixtures including 67 Sharpys, 11 Alpha Wash 1500s and 24 Sharpy Washes.

S&S: What notable changes, expansions or purchases has Clay Paky made this year?
Clay Paky has seen a global increase in sales during the past year. The company also recently opened a Technical Service Centre in Dubai in order to provide all Clay Paky customers in Gulf countries with support and assistance. The office is manned by specialised professional technicians, under the guidance of Gordon Carr, who has obtained a certificate from Clay Paky for attending an intensive specialisation course in Clay Paky product support.

S&S: Does Clay Paky have any big projects in the pipeline for 2016?
There are a couple of very important projects lined up but everything has still to be confirmed at this stage.

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Giochi Di Luce
Comments by Stefano Duchi, general manager

S&S: What has been the major highlight or highlights for GDL over the past year?
2015 has been a successful year for GDL and we are very proud to have been involved in some extremely challenging and prestigious events. As a corporate-oriented event company, one of the events we’d like to highlight is the Infiniti Q70 launch event — a car launch where technology, interaction and automation were combined together to create the ‘wow’ effect.

S&S: Are there any changes, expansions or purchases that you have made as a company this year?
Firstly there is our rebranding and new company website that is soon to be published. Second is the investment in new equipment such as the new Clay Paky Mythos, K10s, and our high-res P3 LED screen. As a leading technical supplier it is vitally important to invest in new equipment and develop new services — this year’s additions include interactivity and LED automation.

S&S: Does GDL have any big projects or investment/expansion plans for 2016?
We have the feeling that the market is changing and 2016 will be challenging, so we want to follow the process already started this year, developing furthermore our new services. We believe our clients will appreciate us not just as a reliable, pure technical supplier, but also innovative and creative, able to provide new applications and technical solutions for their events.

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Delta Sound
Comments by Andy Jackson, general manager ME and Asia

There have been many highlights for Delta Sound this year. Apart from some amazing concerts including Robbie Williams, Michael Bublé, Take That and Dave Matthews band, there have been some great events including NYE Burj Khalifa and The Dubai World Cup. Outside of events, we have made great strides with our own H&S processes, including becoming part of the ILEA, which is a great platform for meeting with like-minded companies all striving to make our industry more regulated and safer.

Our steady growth with equipment and staff has continued. There have been some major investments in consoles, communications and fibre infrastructure throughout 2015. In addition, we have expanded our offerings into the Far East by setting up an office in Hong Kong. During 2015 we have supplied two theatre tours and as well and working on the new ‘Studio City’ launch, which featured Mariah Carey. We think that there is great potential for the specialist supplier in this region.

Our expansion into the AV Integration with Delta AV solutions is also continuing as we enter its second year. We have multiple on-going projects including the Zero Gravity expansion, due to open towards the end of the year and, with regards to Delta Sound, watch this space for a major announcement in the next few weeks.

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Technopro LLC
Comments by Nabil Bourgeili, managing director

With several high-profile events added to the company’s list of achievements, 2015 has been a remarkable year for TechnoPro. From large sports events to high-profile corporate events, medium and small scale projects, the company has been consistent in delivering top-of-the line AV equipment and professional manpower to event management companies across the region.

In January 2015, the 24th edition of the World Men’s Handball Championship, organised by the International Handball Federation (IHF), held its final tournament for the first time in Qatar. TechnoPro undertook the challenge of providing technical production with the latest state-of-the art equipment, manpower, and system operation during the month-long preparations and implementation of the festivities in different locations across Doha. Doha corniche was illuminated with a dynamic laser and lightshow highlighting the skyline. A vibrant laser and light attraction was set up at the island to entertain the crowd every night throughout the celebration, while a large video projection on ICT Tower was seen from the corniche. LED screens for live telecast of the games were provided in Katara, Souk Waqif, and the Pearl, while at the Fan Zone — where delegates and guests celebrated each night after the games — TechnoPro also provided LED Screens, lighting and the audio system. Multiple audio, video, and lighting installations at the stadiums and at the Museum of Islamic Art were also provided by the company.

In October 2015, TechnoPro was commissioned to provide the technical production of the opening ceremony for AIBA, held under the patronage of H.E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee. The ceremony officially marked the start of the Doha 2015 World Boxing Championships. October also saw TechnoPro provide technical production for the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships Opening Ceremony, which took place in Katara Cultural Village and saw para-athletes from across the globe come together for a celebration of unity, diversity and achievement announcing the start of the competition.

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