TiLE 2001, London
Saturday, 21 July 2001
The 10th Annual TiLE Conference was held for the third, but last, time (for a few years) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London 12-14 June 2001.

For those unfamiliar with the TiLE concept, it is not unlike Showlight in its make-up with a conference and exhibition running hand-in-hand, and an associated social programme gluing the two together. Certainly one of the most important conferences in Europe, perhaps in the world, TiLE is a key ‘networking’ event bringing together major developers, operators, designers and suppliers from the international leisure market. It attracts people from around the world because it is the one place to meet people of all levels and to listen to and debate about the real projects, techniques and problems facing this major industry.

Most of the major players can be found on the show floor - companies like Electrosonic, Farmer Studios, Jack Rouse Associates, LCI, Media Projects International, Sarner, Sennhesier, BRC Imagination Arts, Barco, DJ Willrich, Edwards Technologies, ECA2 and Landmark. The Show also saw the official launch of ThemeTech MDM - a new company which will build and project manage contracts for a variety of themed environments. It is born out of the long established model and sculpture manufacturer MDM Ltd.

One of the big draws of TiLE is its conference programme which addresses a different main theme for each of the three days. Day one was titled Shifting Sands - a reference to the uncertain climate of the times. There were sessions on the Megatrends of the next ten years and the provocative opportunities released by more relaxed gaming restrictions in the UK. And on the subject of cities, how leisure projects have become social engineering that has stimulated their re-birth and renewal. There was talk too of museums renewing their relationship with visitors, exploiting the web, developing powerful brands and competing hard.

Day two - Paying the Rent - commenced with a review of new projects around the world, examining the issues of poor and even non-existent project management on some notable Millennium projects such as the Dome and others still in construction. Day three was all about the customer - Fulfilling the Promise. As the nature and desires of the customer change, so too must the leisure industry. First to identify the changes, then evaluate and act. And to round off the sessions, there was Projects from Heaven and Hell - a title that requires no explanation. [ETC sponsored the conference room for the second time, supplying both luminaires and control equipment].

The TiLE Awards were presented at the final session of the show by the outgoing Conference Chairman, Malcolm Lewis. The Award for Innovation went to Antenna Audio for its web-based downloadable audiovisual tour which provides virtual visits to a heritage site - either instead of going, or as a preparation for the real thing. Antenna also picked up a second award in the New Product or Service category for implementing the ability to collect visitor feedback in Real Time, crucial to the success of visitor attractions. Another winner in that same category was Cyber Actors, for their clever implementation of a live computer-generated character, so too Sennheiser for its Guide Port System. This latter in recognition that they had developed a uniquely flexible system for delivering programme audio while tracking visitor movement in an attraction or exhibit.

This year’s event was held against the background of changes in the market, with leisure and themed venues not only encompassing theme parks and museums, but also facilities that project a brand or corporate image. Chairman Malcolm Lewis, creative director of Media Projects International, promised a conference with muscle, teeth and bite. The consensus amongst the delegates was that TiLE delivered just that!

TiLE 2002 will be held in Berlin, 11-13 June.

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