Mike Blackman, Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events, talks about ISE 2020, and why the show has become the ‘must attend’ event for users of AV technology as well as for AV industry professionals.
ISE has enjoyed year-on-year growth since it began. Will ISE 2020 be even bigger?
Unquestionably. At the last ISE, we had over 81,000 visitors – and we expect more in 2020. In 2019, we had 56,100 sqm of net exhibit space, and that will increase in 2020 by over 800 sqm. Two important changes for this year are that the Hall 5 extension has been made larger and permanent, while Hall 14 will be the home of a new Innovation Zone – a specially designed area for companies that are new to ISE to showcase their technology.
The ISE Main Stage theatre will relocate to Hall 14, and will offer a full programme of free-to-attend thought leadership and best practice sessions from ISE, AVIXA, CEDIA and AV Magazine. Following the success of our spectacular projection mapping on the nhow Hotel during ISE 2019, there will be another exciting projection showcase on another part of the RAI complex.
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.
What’s new in the way of conferences and professional development?
All the conferences held at ISE 2019 will be back in 2020 – covering smart buildings, XR, digital signage, digital cinema, hospitality, visitor attractions, stadiums and pro audio, plus AVIXA’s two What‘s Next... conferences, focusing on enterprise and higher education. In addition, we have a couple of new ones – the Control Rooms Summit and the CEDIA Design & Build Conference. Like in 2019, many of the conferences will be held at the Hotel Okura, near the RAI, which proved very popular with our attendees.
As well as its conferences, AVIXA is running 20-minute FlashTrack sessions on its stand. CEDIA has a four-day programme of training sessions, beginning on the Monday with a workshop on cybersecurity, as well as hosting free CEDIA Talks on its stand.
What are the challenges presented by the event having become so large?
One of the biggest is ensuring that visitors can easily locate what they’re looking for – and relevant exhibitors can easily be found. One of the ways we’ve addressed that is with the creation of six Technology Zones – for audio and live events, digital signage and DooH, education, residential, smart buildings and unified communication. The Technology Zones mean that visitors can quickly locate the part of the show where they’ll find the technology and product trends that are most relevant to their interests. The ISE app has proved a big hit with visitors, and its wayfinding features are a key part of that.
How has the average ISE visitor profile changed over the years?
Back when we first started, our audience almost exclusively comprised systems integrators and other AV channel professionals. Increasingly, though, the show has become a destination for end-users; our exhibitors want to engage directly with them, as well as meeting their existing and prospective channel partners. Today, ISE has become as much of a ‘must attend’ event for end-users as it is for the channel.