In conversation with Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). The 2011 show demonstrated record levels of growth in terms of attendance and exhibitor numbers. You spoke of an expanded show in 2012. What do you believe is driving this growth? Compared with our 2011 event, we are occupying one additional hall of our Amsterdam […]
In conversation with Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE).
The 2011 show demonstrated record levels of growth in terms of attendance and exhibitor numbers. You spoke of an expanded show in 2012. What do you believe is driving this growth?
Compared with our 2011 event, we are occupying one additional hall of our Amsterdam RAI venue, and our total exhibition space will be over 31,000 square metres so surpassing the 30,000 mark for the first time. This represents a 15% increase on 2011, when we grew 11%. So, if anything, our growth rate has actually accelerated.
“Some of this growth is the result of existing exhibitors enlarging their stands, while the rest is down to the arrival of new exhibitors, of which we are hosting over 100, plus a few companies most notably Sony who are returning to the show after being absent for a year or two.
“The fact that we are still growing, speaks volumes about ISE, but it is also a testament to the robustness and resilience of our industry. Professional AV weathered the financial storm of 2008-09 so well because our industrys products and services actually help businesses to save money and become more efficient. When an enterprise whether state-owned or private invests in a well-designed AV system, it can generally expect to get a very rapid return on its investment.
“This is truer than ever today, and at ISE 2012 we will see even more compelling evidence that AV is no longer a luxury it is a neccessity that companies and organisations simply cannot afford to do without.”
What would you describe as an improved feature of the 2012 edition?
“As ISE grows, our biggest challenge is making sure that attendees can navigate the event quickly and make efficient use of their time. Our Amsterdam RAI venue is the biggest single user of digital wayfinding among European convention centres, and ISE is now the biggest single user of the RAI Live! system. Given the nature of our industry, it is only natural that we should use digital signage very extensively, and we are investing additional time and energy into making the system even easier to use in 2012. We will also be introducing large-scale, interactive floorplans, using technology from Sharp, which will be located at strategic points around the venue.
“The venue itself has also been the subject of a great deal of investment since our 2011 show. This year attendees will benefit from a completely redesigned Europa Entrance, which will ease the flow of human traffic into the RAI especially on the Tuesday and Wednesday mornings when we typically see very large crowds at both of our entrances.
“The fact that we have now signed a five-year contract extension with the RAI gives our host venue additional incentives to invest, and we expect to see fresh results of this investment each year.”
You said that this is not a gadget show. What in your view is the ISE event about and how will the 2012 event reflect that?
“We refer to ISE as technology enabled rather than technology driven. New products are important, and in 2012 we will see more global product launches than at any previous show. Many of our biggest exhibitors now see ISE as the launch platform in the global tradeshow calendar. But what is arguably more important is that our integrator audience does not just buy and sell products. It adds value by combining technologies together, using them in creative ways that enable our industry to enter new markets.”
How are regions and AV sectors represented in this years event?
“One of the things that make ISE unique is its mix of commercial and residential AV technologies. Our exhibitor base is tilted slightly in favour of commercial but, nonetheless, the Residential Solutions area of ISE 2012 will be our largest ever, and additionally there are many companies particularly in the fields of projection and display, signal management, audio and multimedia control that cross over between the two segments. The same is true of our visitors, over 60% of whom are active in both residential and commercial markets.
“North America, Europe and the Far East provide the majority of our exhibitors. We continue to see an increase in the percentage of Chinese manufacturers, as we have seen at every show for the past three or four years, but this is not so significant as to dramatically alter the balance of the event. This year we also have plenty of new exhibitors from Europe, particularly in professional audio and digital signage, while we continue to attract North American companies who are entering the European market for the first time, and for whom ISE is the perfect place to meet new distribution partners.
“As for additions, many of our most important innovations for 2012 are taking place away from the show floor. We are delighted that our two association owners, InfoComm International and CEDIA, are hosting a combined Education Zone at ISE for the first time. This will make it more convenient for attendees to participate in the sessions of their choice, while also giving the educational component of ISE a higher profile generally.
“On the eve of the show (Monday 30 January), CEDIA and InfoComm will also be co-hosting an Opening Reception at the RAI to which all attendees are cordially invited. This will be preceded at 18:00 by the first-ever ISE Keynote Address to be delivered by Gerhard Schulz of Ingram Micro. Gerhard is a really inspirational speaker and his Blueprint for Business Growth in the Digital Age will, we believe, resonate with every visitor to ISE, regardless of their background.”
With Dynamic Events and DISCO, you have a number of pre-event shows other than the Infocomm Academy. How would a person within the AV industry benefit from attending these shows?
“The purpose of our pre-show conference programme is two-fold. First, we want to encourage new kinds of visitors particularly end customers who might otherwise feel a bit intimidated by the sheer volume of technology at ISE to come to the show. Second, we want to add debate and discussion about the future of our industry to our event experience.
“For an AV integrator or reseller, attending one of our conferences is a great opportunity to acquire the kind of market intelligence that is not so easy to find on the show floor to hear from their peer-group how current business challenges are being met, and what trends are likely to impact on our industry in the years to come.”
For more ISE-related news, visit http://www.broadcastprome.com/ISE