Lessons from attending High End 201523 Oct 2015
I've just attended Munich High End 2015, a huge audiophile event. The exhibition gathers leading speaker, amp, DAC, music server, speaker cable, furniture and related manufacturers and takes over Munich's MOC exhibition halls.
Although neither bliss nor OneMusicAPI are audiophile products per-se they do have an overlap. I've had increasing numbers of enquiries about bundling bliss in music servers and accessing metadata from OneMusicAPI from these types of products. So I figured the exhibition, being the largest of its type in Europe, would be a good place to discuss the types of metadata and cover art challenges faced by hi-fi products.
The event runs for four days; I only attended the first (the trade day) and part of the second. Even then I am exhausted. So as I sit in the departure lounge at Munich Airport, what lessons have I learned?
Non trade days are too busy for conversations
Both the trade day and the non-trade days are busy whichever way you look at it. However, the trade day is quieter than the non-trade days, and so you get a better chance to talk to the manufacturers about product development and the challenges they face.
Generally speaking I did not pre-arrange meetings. In all but one exception I was able to walk up to the stand on the trade day and talk to someone informed. Multiple times I was able to talk directly to the CEO or Managing Director of the company in question.
When I attended on the non-trade day this was simply not possible.
The free bus is full on non-trade days
High End organise a free shuttle bus which ferries visitors to and from the event from their respective hotels.
This is really handy and a nice touch. On the trade day it worked out fine; the bus was busy but everyone got a lift.
On the non-trade day it was a different story. At our hotel, which was the last stop on the schedule, only about 1/4 of those who tried actually managed to get on the bus. In the end I simply walked; it was a 35 minute walk but I suspect it would take longer for others (Google predicted 45mins).
It's difficult to meet people who don't have stands, such is the busy-ness
It's fairly straightforward to meet exhibitors at the event; just go up to their stand and start talking. For those with both a stand and a listening room (most of these were clustered in the Atriums) I found it easier to talk to people on stands as it's (a) lighter and (b) you don't feel so bad talking when people are trying to listen to music.
If, however, you know someone is at the event but they don't have a stand (e.g. certain journalists you might want to talk to) you'll be lucky to spot and be able to grab their attention. Journalists in particular have schedules and run from listening room to listening room.
In this case it may be best to see if you can pin them down to a time to meet.
Bring your own Internet access
I didn't have Internet access, and it would've been really handy. I would be able to take photos, make tweets and communicate with others at the even to arrange meetups.
As it was, I did this from the hotel afterwards, but a different way to connect to the goings-on would have been useful.
Thanks to surroundsound5000 for the image above.