The 122nd AES convention in Vienna, Austria closed on May 8 and was distinguished by a strong upswing in the audio industry, an outstanding technical program and new exhibitors and visitors. The event served as a platform for renewing and expanding the AES Convention Series as the largest pro audio event in Europe.
According to AES, the convention saw approximately 5,450 attendees and 800 full-program participants. Reportedly, visitors spent more time at the convention itself, whereas shorter visits were typical for past events.
As expected, 15 percent of participants came from Eastern European countries this year. Thierry Bergmans, exhibition manager of the European AES convention, explained that choosing Vienna as the host city had a positive effect on the turnout. “Basically, many of our visitors came from Austria and neighboring countries," Bergmans says. "This year, we saw the trend extend to Eastern European countries, as well. After all, for these visitors, traveling to this convention was easier than ever.”
Approximately 30 percent of the full-program visitors were students who attended the AES convention to exchange information and to network, showing an increase compared with previous years and underscoring AES' strategy to attract emerging audio professionals by promoting training and continuing education.
This year’s convention introduced the Spotlight Series, a new AES initiative for exchanging subject-specific information. Focusing on broadcasting, live sound and archiving, the series featured presentations, workshops, technical tours, exhibitor seminars and application seminars. This comprehensive approach made it possible to learn about these subjects from different perspectives, which visitors found very helpful.
The application seminars, which were Introduced at last year’s Paris convention, featured presentations on practical areas of pro audio. Visitors and exhibitors were also enthusiastic about the large presentation area reserved for these seminars in one of the two convention halls, establishing them as the central forum for all attendees and a logical extension of the traditional convention program. “We fully support this trend towards more activity in the exhibition area,” says AES executive director Roger Furness. “It greatly enhances the overall experience.”
After visiting many regions of Europe in the last few years, including such host cities as Berlin, Barcelona, Paris and Vienna, the AES European convention will return to Amsterdam in 2008. The 124th AES Pro Audio Expo & Convention will be held May 17-20, 2008 at the RAI in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
For more information, visit www.aes.org.