As we thunder forward into 2016, Sound & Stage decided to find out what a selection of industry experts are predicting for the year ahead.
Flick through to find out who said what...
Executive director, Action Impact
“I think it’s fair to say that we’re way past ‘bubble trouble’ and 2016 has some positive signs. But, considering the global climate and everything happening elsewhere in the region, it’s important to stay vigilant.”
General manager, eclipse Staging Services
“Over the past 24 months we have seen our industry becoming increasingly competitive, which has had an impact on the price that our customers are willing to pay for audio-visual services, and which is a trend we see continuing. We feel that our focus on quality, diversity, service range and health and safety will continue to give us a competitive edge into 2016 and beyond.”
Regional director, Blink Experience
“I hope for a healthy and safe 2016 for our events industry. I hope that safety standards are raised and that we reach a new peak in our journey towards a flawless and safe event. 2015 was not a great year for many in our industry so I hope that 2016 will not prove to be worse. Growth comes in spurts and we have to be ready to entertain that positive outlook and initial data that we are receiving for Q1 and Q2.”
General manager, Robe Middle East
“Shows are getting more and more complex and so is the technology needed to facilitate them. I should mention the Robe BMFL range, as big lights like the BMFLs are now frequently being specified as part of these large, spectacular shows — especially the BMFL Wash. There are a lot of requests for LED washes and now demand for a traditional discharge wash luminaire — with super-high power like the BMFL Wash — is growing.”
General manager, Stage FX & Laser Grafix
“As a specialist supplier of both lasers and special effects, I see 2016 as being a potentially tough year. We are already seeing local prices falling below European rates, which becomes challenging when you consider the short events season and the effect of the region’s harsh environment on the life span of our high-quality equipment. That said, it’s been a positive start to the season for us so far and I’m hopeful that this trend will continue throughout 2016.”
Executive director – creative & design, HQ Creative
“I hope that VR and real time 3D simulation will continue to develop at their current pace and become the normal way to work, not the exception. I predict a pixel perfect world where the majority of our working day will be spent in simulated 3D versions of the spectacular events HQ deliver; simulated environments that we can really interact with. Advanced VR and visualisation tools will allow us to sit in His Highness’ seat and programme and tweak the show long before we arrive on site to start to build it. This is not just about ensuring that the sightlines are the best they can be, this is about full immersion with the ability to adjust the surround sound mix and programme the lights from inside a world presented on an Oculus Rift. Then, when the show is complete, we can turn to the clients sitting beside us to sign it off.”
Managing partner, Flair SFX & Production
“2016 looks to be an exciting year for the Middle East’s live events market, with several major performances and technically elaborate shows coming to Dubai in Q1 2016. We at Flair are looking forward to our upcoming shows and are excited to continue to ‘wow’ audiences with a new and never before seen set of special effects.”
Production manager, IBS Group
“I think the biggest challenges IBS will face in 2016 will come in the form of lead time for manufacturing and installation. With so many events happening over the same period, it’s a huge task to manage. We need more hours in the day!”
CEO, A&O Technology
“I believe that in 2016 the Architainment and Open-Air market will continue to grow. For both markets, as a manufacturer of high-end searchlights, of course I would like to see more bright and sharp beams in the lighting concepts. The searchlight effect is definitely the ‘cherry on the cake’ for the most exacting demands of architectural and entertainment lighting.”
CEO, Event Marketing Solutions
“Based on the amount of quality enquiries — especially from government departments — I am sure 2016 will be a very busy year. The only challenge we could face is vehicle availability due to the six-month lead time to build new vehicles. Our latest addition to our vehicle fleet, Exposure, is definitely going to be popular in the region.”
Development & Marketing, Neumann&Müller Event Technology
“Corporate events and conferences have been mostly about knowledge building and networking. But this paradigm has shifted and visitors are attending events and conferences with a new objective in mind — to gain a unique experience and make more meaningful connections.
Attendee interaction will become more important than ever as it delivers on the immersive experiences and gives organisers deep insights into behaviour that can then be built into the next event or conference. In 2016, we will see organisers start to experiment with non-traditional room setups, use interactive session formats, and implement the interaction event technology to engage their delegates and, as a result, deliver a memorable, meaningful experience.”
Managing director, Transformers
“2016 will be a tough year, in which the UAE event industry is forced to grow up and address key issues ranging from health & safety to intellectual copyright protection. The growth of design and entertainment-led ventures (Dubai Opera, Dubai Parks, Dragone) and the expansion of activation-friendly real estate (D3, DIFC, Citywalk, Bluewater Island) will inevitably lead to a brain drain from independent agencies to client-side. I’m excited to think that this migration of experienced talent could herald a new age of best practice, including skilled agency management — especially at the RFP stage.”
Head of Video, Neumann&Müller Event Technology
“In 2016 we expect an even greater demand for immersive experiences. Companies are approaching their budgets with a new perspective — the movement of marketing budgets into the event and experience sector.
Experiential marketing will be an ever increasing feature of the industry in 2016, as big brands and smaller companies pursue live experiences to complement their marketing activities. The event market is about creating lasting memories and achieving a legacy. Another trend and opportunity is around the creation and use of video as a creative form of communication. Video for business communication has been steadily growing and is an ideal medium and tool especially in diverse multicultural markets in the Middle East — a picture paints a thousand words.
It’s an exciting time to prepare for the year ahead and look towards creating new concepts, working with new materials, new technologies and monitoring improvements to existing technologies.”
Production director, Action Impact
“I think 2016 will be a year of both challenges and opportunities. Challenges will be increasing competition in the Middle East market and global oil prices meaning pressure on budgets, particularly in the governmental sector. Opportunities continue to develop in the build up to EXPO 2020, Qatar 2022 and a year that will see the Summer Olympics in Rio and European Football Championships.”
Operations manager at MEI
“From the backline hire perspective, we have seen more events happening in this part of the world. Although there have been more events and artists performing, 2016 does not look very positive due to budget cuts happening in our industry. This would be the biggest challenge to overcome in 2016.”
MD, ESP International, and president of ILEA
“At an individual and company level it’s definitely time to become smarter in terms of processes, objective with our goals and business decisions, and more decisive and intelligent when it comes to talent, whether it’s making changes to your existing team or bringing in a different set of skills to ensure targets are met. The way people do business will determine whether they ride out what will be a leaner year for all. Whatever life throws at events people, there’s no one more prepared to deal with the unexpected, and we always come back stronger.”
Owner of Eventknowhow
“Generally, the Middle East follows trends coming from Europe or America. I wish that would be different because we have the opportunity to make our own trends and sort of ‘leap frog’ ahead over other regions. The potential to do that certainly exists here.”