Exhibition delivers against a uniquely challenging backdrop
ISE 2020 completed its 15-year stay at RAI Amsterdam on Friday 14 February 2020. The special ¡Hola Barcelona! event held on the final day brought down the curtain on ISE’s residence at Amsterdam’s leading exhibition centre. Politicians and executives saluted the RAI venue and the City of Amsterdam while looking ahead to the future with the show’s move to the Fira de Barcelona next year.
Against a backdrop of the international health crisis and a storm sweeping across Europe, ISE 2020 delivered a vibrant exhibition floor and a compelling programme of content that included conferences, keynotes and training. The four-day show ended an exciting chapter in the exhibition’s history.
Mike Blackman, Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events, commented: “This year’s show demonstrated to us just how determined our attendees were to come to ISE. Many of our exhibitors exceeded their targets for customer engagement and lead generation. The show has delivered on all fronts: as the global industry’s biggest annual forum, as a launchpad for new solutions, as a place to do business, and as a source of professional development and education.”
While attendance was understandably down against the previous year, crowds still flocked to the event. Daily attendance figures, which include exhibitors and attendees, were as follows:
- Monday 10 February (build-up, conferences and Opening Address): 11,112
- Tuesday 11 February (first day of exhibition): 27,592
- Wednesday 12 February: 34,004
- Thursday 13 February: 28,678
- Friday 14 February: 15,213
This makes a cumulative total of 116,599 visits to ISE 2020. Removing repeat visits by individuals on subsequent days gives a total of 52,128 unique attendees.
Thought leadership and expert opinion were to be found across many channels at ISE 2020, ensuring that delegates had an abundance of opportunities to ‘Learn. Discover. Be Inspired’.
In the Opening Address, former Disney executive Duncan Wardle gave an engaging and thought-provoking demonstration of how to unleash the creativity within all of us.
Fourteen conferences in two venues addressed business strategies and technology trends across the broadest range of vertical markets ever served by an ISE professional development programme. This well-received line-up included the launch of the Control Rooms Summit, and the creation of the Smart Workplace Track as an offshoot of the Smart Building Conference.
On the Main Stage, jointly organised by ISE, AVIXA, CEDIA and AV Magazine, expert speakers offered thought leadership on a wide range of topics. Attracting a diverse and talented workforce within the AV industry was the focus of a number of these sessions. AVIXA’s Diversity Council Forum featured a keynote speech from BBC Creative Diversity Director June Sarpong, and in a session organised jointly with WAVE (Women in AV), the AVIXA Women’s Council was addressed by the Hon. Àngels Chacón, Minister for Business and Knowledge in the Catalonian Government. And on Friday, a panel session jointly produced by all four content partners discussed practical measures for recruiting new talent to the industry.
The largest AV Career Day ever held at ISE was an outstanding success. Over 170 students and faculty from 12 different universities across five countries took part in the event, organised by AVIXA and CEDIA. Presentations, discussions and show floor visits gave participants a real flavour of the wide variety of career paths that the industry has to offer.
AVIXA reported excellent take-up for its FlashTrack sessions, which offered 20-minute presentations on key topics across User Experience, Design, AV-IT and Emerging Trends. The association also launched its Digital Art Challenge at ISE 2020, in which digital content creators are invited to submit one-minute videos to be considered for a special big-screen showcase at ISE 2021.
Dave Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, Chief Executive Officer of AVIXA, commented: “Having now had a few days to reflect on our last ISE in Amsterdam, I am struck by the sheer determination and enthusiasm our AV industry friends and colleagues showed last week. In the face of significant challenges, thousands of people still made the trip to the show, attended conferences and took part in the networking events, awards and parties, and engagement across the show floor was meaningful and important. For our part, the AVIXA Conferences, Flash Tracks and Main Stage programme were all very well attended. This year we were gratified to have grown our participation in the AV Career Day. We also launched our new and exciting Digital Art Challenge – a year-long contest to celebrate those artists and creative teams helping to change the way people experience the world.
“And of course, we held the inspiring ¡Hola Barcelona! event on Friday – a chance to thank our great hosts for the last 14 years, the team at the RAI and the city of Amsterdam. We very much look forward now to ISE 2021 in Barcelona.”
CEDIA reported its most successful professional development programme to date, with an increase in uptake of over 50% on last year. The association’s inaugural Design & Build Conference was well attended and received excellent feedback from its audience of architects, interior designers and other design and build professionals. On the association’s stand, membership enquiries exceeded targets, and the twice-daily CEDIA Talks proved very popular.
Tabatha O’Connor, CEO of CEDIA, commented: “ISE 2020 has been our best ever show. Our Professional Development programme proved to be the most popular yet with registrations at an all-time high. As part of that programme, we ran our first, dedicated conference for architects and interior designers which was a phenomenal success. The CEDIA programme for the ISE Main Stage was well supported as were the CEDIA Talks hosted on our booth. We were also delighted to be part of AV Career Day, welcoming a CEDIA party from Liverpool University. We signed up a record number of new members and enjoyed a great evening with our community at the CEDIA Party, held in the spectacular surroundings of the Johan Cruijff Arena, home of AFC Ajax. CEDIA thanks the city of Amsterdam, and the RAI, for its hospitality over many years, and for an exceptional finale in 2020. We can’t wait for ISE 2021 in Barcelona!”
The considerable efforts expended by its exhibitors in creating attractive and effective stands were celebrated in ISE’s fourth annual Stand Design Awards. Independently run by EXHIBITOR magazine and judged by a third-party panel of exhibition industry experts, the competition determined the best stands against seven criteria across four size-based categories from small (up to 49sqm) to XL (400sqm and above). The respective winners in these categories were Rocketsign, Lindy, BenQ Europe and NEC Display Solutions.
Outside the RAI, a spectacular projection mapping installation on the upper floors of the complex’s Elicium building – created by ISE and the RAI in conjunction with seven Technology Partners – presented an unmissable demonstration of AV technologies for ISE attendees and for local passers-by.
In preparation for ISE 2021 in Barcelona, over 80 Spanish professionals from a broad cross-section of vertical markets were invited to ISE 2020 as part of the event’s Special Interest Group programme. Supported by ACCIO, ICEX and Grupo Eventoplus they took part in a special programme of tours, presentations and networking functions, culminating in the ¡Hola Barcelona! event.
During ISE 2020, over 950 exhibitors booked their stands for ISE 2021, with 61,968 square metres of stand space sold by the close of the show. This equates to 82% of the available ISE 2021 show floor, and approximately 115% of this year’s exhibition floor space. Reflecting the increasing number of vertical markets that ISE serves, additional Technology Zones for next year include Live Events and Lighting, Broadcast, and VR/AR/XR.
The content programme at ISE 2021 will be augmented by three new strands produced by TNW (The Next Web), focusing on technology and its impact on society: Growth Quarters, Startup City Summit and The Assembly. This co-operation between ISE and TNW was announced on the first day of ISE 2020.
ISE 2021 will take place at the Gran Via – Fira de Barcelona on 2-5 February 2021.