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KOBA back at COEX after three-year absence
Having experienced the excitement and crowds of ISE, the NAMM Show and InfoComm, it was uplifting to see the same mood evident in Korea as KOBA went ahead in late June for the first time in three years. As we’ve noticed at the European and American tradeshows, the emphasis was largely on people, not product, with the same electric energy of people greeting one another after a long absence of tradeshows and public events. Generally speaking, the country’s AV industry seems to have escaped much of the downturn and disruption created elsewhere by the pandemic. A short lockdown meant the entertainment industry managed to carry on for longer, albeit with smaller audience numbers. Live sound companies reported a lull, but anyone selling MI products, remote videoconferencing solutions and livestreaming equipment saw a pronounced upturn in business. Even the fact that churches had to close was beneficial in certain quarters as services online has meant investment in professional streaming equipment, plus a chance to plan the next technical overhaul once in-person worship resumed.
KOBA’s footprint had shrunk this year from the normal two levels of COEX to the adjacent halls C and D on the third floor only. This was very much a Korean show, with just 50 visitors registering from overseas. Certain brands and distributors were absent, but many distributors presented impressive booths, some of which – including Samasound with Genelec and its own new LED videowall, Music Metro with PMC and Avid, Sound Solutions with RCF and Midas and KOIL with L-Acoustics and Avid all presenting immersive audio demos, with Korea adopting immersive formats on a large scale at both consumer and professional levels.
Unfortunately, global supply chain issues and, to a lesser extent, staff shortages were also on the agenda, with the frustration of full order books and long lead times among the topics of discussion on the show floor. But the mood at KOBA has been overwhelmingly positive, the only sign of the last two-and-a-half years being the mandatory facemasks covering the smiles of people happy to be back.
KOBA returns to its usual slot of 16-19 May in 2023, which those who experienced the heavy seasonal downpours and lack of taxis of this late June edition will be relieved to hear.