Dubai, UAE: Economic growth, rising tourism, and the completion of several mega projects, are the key drivers of the UAE’s professional AV (audio visual) market, with demand for related equipment and services estimated to grow by nearly eight per cent over the next two years, new research has revealed.

According to a report by Euromonitor International (EMI), the UAE’s professional AV market is estimated to value US$707 million by 2018, up from the expected US$656.2 million in 2016, as the industry shakes off a market slowdown caused by declining oil prices over the last 18 months.

The August 2016 report said growth is due to the UAE government’s strong focus on diversification toward a service and tourism-oriented economy, while the imminent completion of major projects such as the Guggenheim and Louvre Museums in Abu Dhabi, and Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid City, will fuel demand for professional AV and lighting installations.

Mohammed bin Rashid City alone will be home to 100 hotels, five theme parks, and a marine life park once completed, but the biggest impact may be in 2019, as AV equipment integration comes at the last phase of projects in the final countdown to the Dubai Expo 2020.

The bright outlook sets the stage for the inaugural edition of Prolight + Sound Middle East, where global suppliers of professional technologies and services for the entertainment and creation industries will showcase their newest products from 31 October – 2 November 2016 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

They’ll meet buyers from key customer segments such as rental companies and event organisers, which according to the EMI report, account for nearly 50 per cent of the UAE market share, due to frequent purchases every 3-5 years of the latest equipment for customised and temporary event-based applications.

Meanwhile, the government sector too will be a key target customer segment for fixed professional AV applications, as it continues to invest in expanding and upgrading infrastructure projects and public services such as airports, metro stations, cultural, and religious institutions.

“With market trends indicating the demand for pro lighting, sound, and audio equipment is heading in the right direction, we’re delighted to present an annual platform of ground-breaking products dedicated to the entertainment industry,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Prolight + Sound Middle East.

“In Prolight + Sound Middle East, we’re providing a highly interactive networking, developmental and sourcing platform, where the world’s premier brands will present their latest product lines, from stage lighting and DJ equipment to special effects and multimedia, or audio and AV systems to infrastructure and furnishings.”

More than 70 per cent of exhibition space at Prolight + Sound Middle East 2016 has been booked, with the biggest names in the business throwing their hats into the ring. The latest to confirm its presence at the three-day event is GSL Professional, the official Middle East distributor for Harman Professional audio brands such as JBL, Soundcraft and Crown.

In addition to an array of planned product launches, GSL Professional will also conduct training seminars covering the theory and practical elements of performance PA, including line array system concepts, rigging demonstrations, digital mixing console operation, and new amplifier technologies.

“Our key feature is that we have every part of the signal path covered,” said Sam Brandon, the General Manager of GSL Pro Middle East. “All the way from the performer on stage with a microphone in their hand, to the audience looking up and hearing high performance loudspeakers.

“The Harman product lines are world leaders in every market category including hospitality, house of worship, theme parks, transportation, education, stadia & arena, recording & broadcast, tour sound and portable PA.”

Brandon added: “The Middle East is committed to diversify its economy and hospitality is right at the top of the government initiatives. As one of the world leaders in hospitality AV, Harman is positioned perfectly to meet the needs of this growing market from bars, restaurants, night-life, entertainment venues and hotels & resorts. There are so many new products being released ensuring that the investment made in these markets are well spent in providing much more, for less.”

Other notable international exhibitors at Prolight + Sound Middle East 2016 include Bose Professional Middle East; Monacor International, a German manufacturer of PA, stage and event technology; Bosch Communications; Adam Hall; and the show’s Founding Partners, Martin Professional, and Sennheiser, two leading manufacturers of consumer and professional lighting and audio systems.”

Mig Cardamone, Director of Sales and Marketing at Sennheiser Middle East, said: “We have been a strong performer regionally which has been the direct result of the significant investments in personnel and fixed costs over this period as well as a strategic targeting of potential growth segments across our business.

“Integrated Systems, or installed sound, has been the biggest growth segment, specifically the Conference and Translation business. We have had a significant amount of success in the hospitality and broadcast sectors in particular,” added Cardamone.

In addition to more than 40 exhibitors, Prolight + Sound Middle East 2016 will include Stage On, an outdoor live demonstration area for PA and AV systems.

The annual regional showpiece event is the fifth instalment of the international network of Prolight + Sound events worldwide, and is co-located with Light Middle East 2016, the region’s dedicated exhibition, conference, and awards for lighting design and technology.