Celebrating the return of EI Live!

One of the biggest UK custom install shows makes its return next week, taking place 29-30 September 2021 at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre. Amy Wallington looks at what we can expect from the comeback show.

The last couple of months has seen the return of some events, and although not always achieving full capacity, it is obvious this market is eager to get back out to shows and networking events to do business face-to-face rather than through the computer screen.

After two postponements, next week will see the return of EI Live! to the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre, and with a full floorplan, it promises to be an exciting event for the industry. 

“A full floorplan is always good for the footfall the exhibitors expect,” commented David Kitchener, managing director of EI Live!. “At EI Live! this year, we have all the major distributors and therefore all major manufacturers’ brands. In fact, we have over 500 brands on show during the two-day event, so there is a lot to see.”

The exhibition will cover home automation, entertainment, and AV systems, while also encompassing commercial building automation and AV as well as smart products from the world of electrical contracting.

One of the biggest attractions of the show is the Technical Theatre, featuring a range of interesting and educational sessions for different interests within the market.

Both days kick off with certified HDBaseT installer expert training from Blustream, taking place from 10am until 11:15am on the Wednesday and Thursday. This course provides a detailed introduction to HDBaseT technology and best practices for installation. Attendees will specifically learn about the science behind HDBaseT, the elements of 5-Play integration and recommended installation guidelines. Once completed, all attendees will receive a personal certificate, official HDBaseT installer digital logo, certified HDBaseT installer t-shirt and AVIXA development points. The certified training will be held both days of the show and will start at 10am. Places are limited so registration is advised.

After the HDBaseT training, Wednesday’s schedule will continue with a session on AV rack building at 11:25am with Nick Pidgeon from Visualization, followed by a panel discussion with AWE. Hosted by Jeff Hayward from The Integrated Home Podcast, the panel will feature Stuart Tickle, managing director of AWE Europe; Chris Mullins, product manager, digital & home cinema, simulation & entertainment projection at Sony; and Gifford Malcolm, managing director at Bespoke Home Cinemas. They will discuss large format displays, looking at projectors, screens and microLED.

At 1:05pm on the Wednesday, Barry Sheldrake, director of sales at Meridian Audio and Cedric Aubriot, CEO and founder of Waterfall Audio will discuss the unique advantages DSP presents manufacturers in creating amazing experiences for their clients.

The next session features Iain Gordon of GES Digital discuss the benefits of using KNX for successful smart home installations. Following this, Kevin Cray from CYP will give a guide to AV distribution trouble shooting.

At 14:35, engineer and entrepreneur, Adam Taylor-Drake of HomeLINK will look at the benefits of joined up data collection and analysis in social housing. This will be followed by Phillip Gude of Gude Systems GmbH talking about how to save time and money when servicing clients’ systems. The final session of the day will be from Jason Girardier from Snap One and Control4, which will look at educating design and build professionals using the five levels of a smart home.

Thursday’s schedule will begin with the HDBaseT training again from Blustream, followed by a session on the power of prediction (AI) in smart homes from Amrita Poptani, AICO/HomeLINK.

At 12:15pm, Snap One’s regional audio expert, Phil Hardaway will be joined by Angus Murray, New Wave AV and James Brown, The Cinema Company to discuss key audio issues and explores the options for resolving them.

Following this, James Belso and Chris Brittan from Visualization will look at the pros and cons of display technology. They will offer some unique insights into the world of visual display, sharing tips for specifying and installing to service and support.

Paul Foulkes, president of KNX UK Association will then look at the impact building automation technology has on our health and wellbeing. The final session will be held by Dr Shelley James from Age of Light Innovations, who will share the latest research into how light affects the performance of the eye and brain and how this changes over time.

You can find more information and full descriptions of each session here

As well as the return of the show, the Smart Building Awards (SBA) will also be going ahead this year. Taking place on the evening of 29 September (first night of the show), the awards will celebrate some of the best projects in the industry.

Held at The Village Hotel Farnborough, product categories include: Best Home Cinema Projector Screen; Best Racking or Mounting Product; Best Standalone Speaker; Best TV/Display (Conventional); Best Integrated TV/Display; Best Matrix/Signal Distribution; Best Multiroom/Zone Music Solution; Best Dedicated Touchscreen; Best Security Solution; Best Automation Platform; Best In-Wall or In-Ceiling Speaker; and Best Lighting Control.

The company categories consist of: Best Training; Distributor of the Year; and Manufacturer of the Year. Finally, the project based categories include: Best Commercial Integration Project; Best Home Cinema Project; Best Media Room; Best Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU); and Best Whole Home Integration Project.

Tickets for the Smart Building Awards are on sale now