Mike Blackman talks about the growth of Integrated Systems Europe and highlights for the February 2020 show
interview by Martin Palicki
The annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show for AV and systems integration will take place February 11-14, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam. ISE, which has become a key event for members of the global attractions industry, has ballooned to some 80,923 attendees and 1,296 exhibitors in 2019. The show is outgrowing its home in Amsterdam and will relocate to Barcelona in 2021. Producer Integrated Systems Events is gearing up for what it forecasts will be the largest ISE to date since the show was founded in 2004. InPark interviewed Mike Blackman, Managing Director, Integrated Systems Events.
ISE has grown steadily and successfully over the years. How do you manage to meet everyone’s needs?
Mainly, we listen to our exhibitors and attendees. We carry out detailed research after each show to find out what people liked, and what they didn’t like so much. That feeds into the planning for the following year’s show.
ISE has a strong focus on professional development. Why?
ISE is owned by AVIXA and CEDIA, two trade associations with a focus on professional development – so education and training have always been an important part of the show. Another priority for both associations is reaching out beyond the industry, to other stakeholders within AV projects. Establishing and awarding professional qualifications plays an important part in establishing the expertise of the industry as a whole, as well as demonstrating the competency of the individuals who work in it.
What can we expect to see on the show floor?
Although we don’t have much growing space at the RAI Amsterdam, the extension to Hall 5 has been expanded, and is now permanent. Some of this extra space will host companies in the Audio and Live Events Technology Zone. This is one of six Technology Zones, which group together exhibitors with similar technologies and/or market sectors – helping our exhibitors to zero in on the solutions of most interest to them. The other Technology Zones are Digital Signage and DooH; Education Technology; Residential; Smart Building; and Unified Communications.
We’ve also found some space in Hall 14 for a new Innovation Zone, which is an area dedicated to exhibitors making their ISE debut with exciting new technologies.
Across the entirety of the ISE 2020 show floor, I’m sure that cutting-edge solutions using immersive audio, AV over IP, cloud, 4K/8K technology, voice and gesture control and the latest display technologies will all be well represented.
What else can attendees expect for ISE in 2020?
Our Opening Address will be given by Duncan Wardle, former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney. He has some really interesting ideas about how all businesses can tap into their resources of imagination and creativity, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say. We’re planning another projection mapping spectacle, following the success of these show features in previous years. And we’re also working on an event where we will say farewell and thank you to Amsterdam and the RAI, and also give attendees a flavor of what to expect when we move to Barcelona in 2021.
How has ISE’s visitor profile changed over the years?
Initially, our audience was almost entirely drawn from the AV channel. Increasingly, though, our exhibitors have told us that while they still want to meet with existing and prospective channel partners, they also want to engage directly with endusers. We’ve made a concerted effort to respond to that need – as evidenced, for instance, by our growing conference program. ISE has become as much of a ‘must attend’ event for end-users as it is for the AV channel.
What was behind the decision to move the event to Barcelona?
Purely and simply, we’re running out of space in the RAI. Even for ISE 2020, we had to tell our exhibitors that they couldn’t take a bigger stand than they had at ISE 2019. So while the RAI has been a great partner for us, and Amsterdam a great location for the show, we didn’t have any choice but to find somewhere else. The Fira de Barcelona is a great choice: it’s a modern, well-equipped venue with plenty of space for us to expand into – not just on the show floor, but also with plentiful side rooms for conferences, meetings and demos. And Barcelona came out top of our attendees’ preferred cities for hotels and restaurants.
We will be sad to leave Amsterdam after ISE 2020, but Barcelona will provide us with what we need to deliver a show that meets our exhibitors’ and our attendees’ needs for years to come. • • •