Integrated Systems Events Managing Director, Mike Blackman, joins Tim Albright in AVNation’s ISE Studio to discuss the history of the show and the move to Barcelona in 2021.
Integrated Systems Europe’s first show in 2004 was in Geneva with a move to the RAI in 2005, where the entire show barely filled Hall 8. The following year ISE was held in Brussels, with 2006 seeing the show return to the RAI, where it has continued to grow, with Blackman noting that in 2020, the show has maxed out the venue.
“Last year, I was at an event here in Amsterdam and the ex-CEO of RAI, Hans Bakker, approached me and said, ‘Mike, I just want to congratulate you. Do you remember that discussion we had when you came here and you said to me, one day ISE will be the biggest show in town?’ I said, I remember that. And he said, ‘We’ll hats off,’” Blackman says. “I was always sure ISE would be big. I never dreamt it would be this big so fast, that’s the only surprise.”
Blackman attributes the show’s growth to the industry, attendees and the ISE team, which in expanding, also continued to redefine the scope and markets the show covers — with 70 percent channel players and 30 percent corporate endusers, the latter of which is often accompanied by an integrator.
But even with that growth, ISE 2020 has taken a hit in attendance due in large part to weather, which Blackman, speaking on the Day 3 of the show, notes has caused the delayed arrival of several attendees. And of course, the Coronavirus outbreak also played a role.
“We respect that,” Blackman says of vendors and attendees who decided to withdraw from the show due to Coronavirus concerns. “These are decisions that companies and individuals have had to make and we respect those decisions.”
Blackman adds: “We are doubly happy about the people who did make it and they want to be here, but the result is, certainly we have seen the effect of both the weather and coronavirus concerns. Our show floor on the first day was lower. Yesterday was really booming, really doing well. I anticipate that by the end of the show we may end up with a slight reduction in the physical number of people.”
As a show director, Blackman explains how organizations like ISE handle similar issues that effect the exhibition industry at large.
With Barcelona the new location for ISE starting in 2021, Blackman admits that there is a bit of a learning curve in the transition and the extensive planning that goes into successful holding and managing the event in its new host city.
Everyone is looking forward to Barcelona,” Blackman says.
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