Integrated Systems Europe – big in Barcelona
Posted on: Tuesday 23rd of November 2021
Exhibitors are signing up to take part in ISE 2022, due to take place in Barcelona at the start of February. NIGEL JOPSON takes a look.
Registration for ISE 2022 is now open, offering the international audio, visual, and systems integration community a long-anticipated opportunity to reconnect in person at ISE’s new home at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Vía exhibition centre – the second largest trade fair and exhibition centre in Europe. Six Technology Zones, set out over five spacious halls will welcome in-person visitors from 1st-4th February 2022. The ISE Conference programme runs from Monday 31st January through to Friday 4th February.
After 16 years of being held at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, the organisers of ISE – the world’s largest audio-visual fair – announced in 2018 that Barcelona would become the permanent venue for the event for its next exhibitions. Pre-pandemic, with annual growth in ISE exhibitors and attendees approaching 10%, and the AV market forecast to grow by 5% per annum through 2021, it seemed eminently sensible to conclude that ISE was outgrowing its popular Amsterdam location. These plans took a hard knock from Covid, with the 2021 show having to be moved from February to June, and then replaced by ‘ISE Live & Online’, a series of two-day in-person events taking place in Barcelona, Munich, Amsterdam, and London.
This hybrid 2021 event from ISE, combining live and digital content, nevertheless achieved 1,431 in-person attendees on Day 1, and 990 on Day 2 in Barcelona. Over 8,000 people registered for ISE Digital, which had 120 live sessions.
“It’s been a 17-year journey to get to Barcelona so it was bittersweet not to make the big bang we’d hoped for on our debut, but we know the value of live events for forging trust, deeper business relationships and driving business,” commented Integrated Systems Events managing director, Mike Blackman, “I hope this sends a message of confidence to cities around the world that live events can be safe and successful.”
All visitors within the venues in June this year had to provide a negative Covid-19 anti-allergen test result prior to entry, and wore FFP2 NR facemasks inside the venue. Despite these stringent health restrictions, the turnout demonstrated that, for many, in-person trade shows are still a persuasive draw. “After more than a year without events and exhibitions, we were excited and delighted to meet people face-to-face again,“ said Oriol Massague, field marketing manager at Panasonic.
Spread across five halls at the Fira Gran Vía, the 2022 show floor has been organised into five Technology Zones to provide a much-improved visitor experience over RAI, which had begun to look a little cramped. With a motivational motto of ‘Rise up. Reconnect. Ignite the future’, the wide aisles and easy-to-navigate layout of ISE 2022 is designed to provide both the AV channel and end-users with plenty of inspiration.
“It is very heartening to see that globally, events and exhibitions are returning to strength,” said Blackman. “We are delighted that we already have over 700 exhibitors confirming their presence at ISE 2022 and we expect more to confirm in the coming days.” Committed exhibitors include big names like Barco, Crestron, KNX, Kramer, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.
Audio shares Hall 7 with Lighting and Staging. There will be three new demo areas covering lighting and staging (within the Lighting & Staging Zone), audio and digital signage (both outdoors). Taking advantage of the expansive facilities at the new venue, these areas will allow visitors to experience major multi-technology solutions in ‘real-life’ set-ups. A perennial problem for audio pros at trade shows is not being able to objectively and accurately evaluate new equipment; ISE has addressed this for the 2022 show with the ‘Sound Xperience’. Set just metres away from the Fira Gran Vía, a dedicated cinema complex offers 12 specially configured listening rooms to showcase audio “with depth, accuracy and pin-point clarity”. This initiative, in partnership with Eventos Filmax Cinema Gran Vía complex, takes advantage of treated screening rooms with a capacity to host up to 2,500 people, within a very modern movie complex, which includes 4DX theatres.
The redesigned show floor will feature a new Discovery Zone, highlighting 40 companies exhibiting for the first time. The numbers are lower than the 1,300 recorded in ISE’s peak year of 2019, but ten times higher than the number of exhibitors seen at ISE’s 2021 regional roadshows in Barcelona and London. A new development for 2022 is a paperless approach to visitor registration in the form of digital badges, issued via the new ISE app, which will also be a source of additional information and content.
“There will be many education opportunities for attendees to explore, including our CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) half-day workshops in multiple languages, along with member events,” said Sarah Joyce, Chief Global Officer, AVIXA. AV Career Day also returns to ISE 2022, taking place on Thursday 2 February. Supported by AVIXA, CEDIA and ISE, this initiative is designed to showcase career opportunities and ensure that the next generation of professionals has the skills to meet the challenges of the future. ISE 2022 will provide plenty of opportunities for professional development through its five-day, multi-language content programme. Combining a mix of paid-for and free sessions, the 2022 thought-leadership programme covers a wide variety of industry topics. Starting on Monday with two full-day conferences, the programme will take place on three dedicated stages within Hall 1.