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A welcome return: AV industry praises ISE and InfoComm 2022

It’s been a tricky couple of years, and after some false starts it was a joy to get to see colleagues and friends at ISE and InfoComm. Installation canvassed the industry on its thoughts on both events, and the overwhelming response was positive

After what has been an incredibly difficult time for AV industry shows, it was great to see both ISE and InfoComm fully up and running in May and June – at a new, bigger venue (in sunny Barcelona) and with an additional hall (back in Vegas) respectively! We gave our industry friends the opportunity to respod to questions about the two events, and as ever the response was overwhelming: we’ll run additional insight ooff-page over the next few weeks.

Feedback was incredibly positive overall, for both events, with ISE perhaps edging it in terms of industry enthusiasm. What was perhaps most surprising, and pleasing, were comments regarding footfall: a lot better than anticipated, and of a high quality. Some even suggested that there had been a spike in the quality of leads, despite falls in footfall. Maybe Covid worries sort the wheat from the chaff!

“While attendance figures were lower than 2019 levels, the people we met at the shows brought us exciting projects and were highly engaged,” confirmed Rachel Archibald, director of marketing at Clear-Com.

“I was very impressed with both events,” Mark Tildesley, enterprise sales director, EMEA, at Clevertouch added. “ISE seemed busier throughout, but both locations and facilities were excellent both as an attendee and an exhibitor.” 

Craig Storey, sales director at Lightware Visual Engineering, agreed: “The event [ISE] was truly fantastic. Barcelona as a location was brilliant and gave a fresh new vibe to the show, the layout of the Fira worked extremely well for attendees, allowing stands to be found much easier and therefore time
to be utilised much more effectively. The show attendance felt as high as previous years with a great, busy, positive footfall on our stand.

“Infocomm was also a fantastic event. Las Vegas never fails to deliver as a location for the AV industry to meet every other year and it’s a staple show on our calendars.” 

There were some doubts expressed as to the success of the new West Hall at InfoComm, perhaps due to the anticipated fall in attendance, but again overall response was positive, with Inge Govaerts, Barco director of corporate communications & events, talking of how “incredibly busy” the hall was (Barco exhibited there) and how InfoComm 2022 had “an incredible energy about it”.

But Mark Tildesley, enterprise sales director, EMEA Clevertouch, wasn’t so sure. “I’m not sure it added anything to be honest,” he said. “The halls were not full with exhibitors and I overheard many complaints about the long walk between halls.”

And Craig Storey agreed, but remains enthusiastic about InfoComm as an event, and can see the scope for growth: “As an attendee, it didn’t make too much of a difference apart from giving a little more ‘breathing space’ to the show. But it’s clear the show is growing in comparison to 2018 and it was a welcome addition.”

See below for full responses. Further industry comments will feature on soon.

Roundtable participants

Inge Govaerts [IG], Barco director of corporate communications & events

Ann Holland [AH], vice president, marketing at BrightSign LLC

Rachel Archibald [RA], director of marketing, Clear-Com

James Hill [JH] director, integrated systems, Shure 

Mark Tildesley [MT] enterprise sales director, EMEA Clevertouch

Mark Coombes [MC], sales director, NewTek EMEA

Suso Carrillo [SC], marketing lead, NDI, Vizrt Group

Craig Storey [CS], sales director, Lightware Visual Engineering

Karen Langford [KL], head of B2B sales at Vestel

Did you exhibit or attend ISE and/or InfoComm?

IG “Yes, Barco exhibited at both ISE and InfoComm this year. 

“We brought together colleagues across all our business units from across Europe, Asia and the Americas to share stages in Barcelona and Las Vegas – including those from our meeting experience, large video wall experience and immersive experience units. 

“We showcased major updates to our ClickShare collaboration solutions and had the North American launch of our LED video wall platform TruePix.”

AH “BrightSign exhibited at both ISE and InfoComm.”

RA “Clear-Com exhibited at both ISE and InfoComm shows this year.”

JH “Shure exhibited at both ISE and Infocomm and whilst I didn’t attend Infocomm personally, everything I’ve heard from other Shure associates has been really positive.”

MT “We exhibited at both events.”

MC “NewTek had a presence at ISE and InfoComm this year, but myself I was an attendee at ISE. We were one of eight other companies collaborating on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Pavilion which was organised by Tradefair which was great to be a part of to showcase our new solutions, talk about our growth and expansion across EMEA, and discuss our plans for the rest of the year..”

SC “While NDI had a large presence across the vendors at both events, NDI specifically exhibited at ISE with a few of our key partners, NewTek, Panasonic, NetGear and SNS.”

CS “Lightware Visual Engineering exhibited at both ISE 2022 and Infocomm 2022, and I attended both shows.”


What are your thoughts on this year’s event/s – as an exhibitor and/or attendee?

IG “The return to a new ‘normal’ has not quite brought with it the same numbers of attendees that we grew to expect pre-pandemic, but what has characterised both ISE and InfoComm this year has been a real eagerness to get together again and meet people. The chance to connect again with prospects and peers has been keenly felt throughout the entire audio-video industry, with the breadth of future looking technology on show there being a testament to the great work that has been done these past two years. It has been the perfect atmosphere to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our ClickShare product.”

AH “ISE was our first major show back in almost three years – excepting the ‘lockdown’ versions of ISE in Barcelona / London in 2021 which were on a much smaller scale. The event was very well run in Barcelona – show management did a great job at transitioning to the new venue. We thought that the attendance was good for the first show that people were comfortable with attending now that the Covid pandemic has abated.

“We launched a brand-new product, XC5 at InfoComm. The launch went great – people were so excited and it was a really good opportunity to talk about its leadership features like the quad output and 8K support. The event was particularly busy with regard to the events organised by exhibitors. It seemed like everyone was really excited to be out there and was keen to do an event of some kind: a speaking opportunity, a party or a breakfast. Our salespeople ended up running from venue to venue the first two nights.”

RA “The joy of reconnecting in person was clearly felt at both shows. While attendance figures were  lower than 2019 levels, the people we met at the shows brought us exciting projects and were highly engaged. Overall, the opportunity to provide hands-on demonstrations and reconnect with our community was very welcomed!”

JH “From an exhibitor point of view, I loved this year’s ISE. I guess that finally being back meeting customers face to face plays a huge part in that, but I honestly feel there was more to it. I love Barcelona as a city anyway, I got engaged to my wife here so for me personally, the city holds a lot of memories. 

“That aside, the venue was fantastic. There was much more space between booths, so you never felt hemmed in or that your personal space was being invaded. I was surprised that no matter where you were at the venue, you were never more than a few yards from a door meaning it was easy to get some fresh air between meetings.I felt that the attendees were all there with a purpose. It was great to see so much positive engagement.

“Some of the conversations we had, not just with existing customers but with people we’ve not met before, were very productive. As far as Shure goes, I felt our booth was stunning this year. It was carefully planned and set out and the team did an amazing job of getting the layout just right.”

MT “I was very impressed with both events. ISE seemed busier throughout but both locations and facilities were excellent both as an attendee and an exhibitor.”

MC “Very good, it was well organised and well attended. It truly felt like we were back to pre-pandemic times again, we very pleased we attended as an exhibitor and business has, and will continue to be generated from the event.”

SC “It was really great; ISE was a nice event and all the team really enjoyed the great organisation of the event alongside meeting with colleagues from all over the industry. 

“We even saw NDI being used to control lighting systems, via PC which was an incredibly cool use by salrayworks . It was also great to see how some of our best partners like BirdDog are getting traction with great NDI developments.”

CS “After several years since the last in-person ISE, attending as an exhibitor for the 2022 show in the new location of Barcelona was very highly anticipated and there was an uncertainty on attendance, location, ease of exhibiting, etc.

“I have to say all of this uncertainty was put to rest after the first day. The event was truly fantastic. Barcelona as a location was brilliant and gave a fresh new vibe to the show, the layout of the Fira worked extremely well for attendees, allowing stands to be found much easier and therefore time to be utilised much more effectively. 

“The show attendance felt as high as previous years with a great, busy, positive footfall on our stand personally, and evening hospitality was well catered for. We cannot wait for ISE 2023!

“Infocomm was also a fantastic event, Las Vegas never fails to deliver as a location for the AV industry to meet every other year and it’s a staple show on our calendars.”

KL “As an exhibitor at ISE 2023 we were very pleased by the attendance this year. It was so encouraging to see large footfall after a lack of events over the past few years, with people keen to return to in-person shows. 

“The change of location to Barcelona later in the year also provided an exciting new environment in which to build relationships and engage with partners and customers old and new.

“We had a fantastic show, with existing and new customers attending from many different regions. We left with the impression that ISE is getting bigger and better attended each year.”

Is there anything you think can be done to improve either/both event/s?

IG “At ISE, each day was very long. While the chance to connect in person with our colleagues and partners throughout the industry was great, the 7pm end time meant that the energy which defined the event began to wane as the day drew to a close. Or perhaps, we lost some of our pre-pandemic stamina?”

AH “Both shows were very, very well run and I can’t think of any major area that might be improved. It will be good to have the two separated in terms of time again when ISE moves back to February. The logistics of supporting two major shows so close together in time but so far apart geographically were challenging.”

RA “The logistics, wayfinding, and badge process at ISE were not as smooth as we have experienced in the past at the RAI, so we are looking for those to improve in 2023. InfoComm was well organised, although I think everyone felt that the proximity of the North and Central halls is far preferable to the long journey between the new West Hall (where Clear-Com was located) and the North Hall. The record high temperatures in Las Vegas probably didn’t help!”

JH “Honestly? Not a great deal. I felt the new venue was a huge success. I think if I had to change anything it would be moving next year’s show to a date later than February as the good weather undoubtedly helped. I fully accept that keeping a decent space between ISE and Infocomm makes perfect sense though.”

MT “I think both events need to review the opening hours. Both seemed overly long meaning lots of attendees only visited for parts of the day but exhibitors had to man the stand for far longer than necessary. Also the final days of both events were very poorly attended (particularly Infocomm). 

“Both shows need to look at the structure of the overall event and could maybe pinch some structural ideas from Enterprise Connect? Education/speakers in the am – starting at 8am with coffee/breakfast. These sessions to run until noon and then the afternoon is for the exhibition. From 5pm networking sessions/keynote speakers to end the day by 7pm. Do similar every day and have headline act/hook on last day to encourage last day attendance  – 8-12 education, industry speakers, 12-5 Exhibition, 5-7 keynote speakers.”

CS “The only shame this year was how close together the two events were. We believe if there was a little more of a gap in dates between the two, Infocomm may have seen a higher European attendance.”

KL “Of course, we’d love a permanent change of dates to Barcelona in May – who wouldn’t?! Understandably though, the trade show calendar is very full.

“We would have loved to have some more wayfinding at ISE 2022. The venue was well laid out, even with outdoor areas when not visiting the stands, however sometimes it was difficult to find specific vendors/exhibitors and you had to get to grips with the event to understand where toilets and food etc were located.”

If you exhibited at either/both event/s, how did you find the footfall and the quality of attendees?

IG “Both the quantity and quality of attendees attending both events were fantastic. Our industry thrives on communication, collaboration and customisation, and being able to work with our customers and partners in attendance at ISE and InfoComm to redefine user experience was great. Whether they work in the boardroom or control room, building partnerships with the end-users of our products is key to their optimisation, and their success.

“Getting to meet the attendees who make that possible has always been a personal highlight of mine. In time, I hope we’ll see footfall return to pre-Covid levels.”

AH “Visitor numbers were good at both events. We haven’t calculated the final traffic numbers but my sense is that both were about as good as it gets given the state of Covid cautions and restrictions. 

“The quality of visitors at both events was fantastic. We saw a lot of our existing customers and partners at both events, but we were excited at the number of new visitors that we met”. 

RA “Excellent on both counts for InfoComm! Our location at ISE in Hall 7 was out of the way, and the wayfinding was quite poor at the show, so ISE was less of a success in that measure.”

JH “I’ve already touched on this above but it’s worth noting that the footfall was much higher than we anticipated. We were busy all week and didn’t really slow down until Friday when there was a marked drop off. Although we still had some interesting people swing by on the Friday.”

MT “Footfall was good at both events each day except the last day where the numbers were very low.”

MC “Footfall was great throughout all of the days; with the quietest being the last day – although that was expected. In terms of quality, it was good – a mix of our distributors, partners, systems integrators and consultants. The conversations were productive and that face-to-face element was indispensable.”

SC “The quality was great at ISE, we had really great conversations on the show floor with partners, prospects, users and so many with people and businesses that wanted to know more about how NDI can be leveraged across the industry to simplify and streamline AV workflows. Foot traffic wise, it was nearly as busy as pre-pandemic times.”

CS “Having attended both events footfall seemed fantastic. The only point to note would be seeing less US attendees at ISE and less European attendees at Infocomm due to how close these shows both ended up being.”

KL “That stats speak for themselves – 43,691 unique attendees from 151 countries made 90,372 visits to the event. At our stand in hall three we enjoyed seeing people interact with the visuals and being drawn in. There were always people to interact with and we were able to demonstrate our latest ranges.”

With ISE, what did you think of the new venue?

AH “The new venue was fantastic. It was a lot to navigate but once you were comfortable and got your bearings, it was hugely easier to get around than the RAI. Everyone found us.”

RA “Logistics were challenging at ISE, for example, the Fira Barcelona internet services were not up to par. The venue was clean, bright, and well-organised, however the entrance near our hall wasn’t open, likely due to a shortage of staff, which made our traffic flow less than ideal. The city of Barcelona was welcoming, and very enjoyable!”

JH “Loved it! Bigger, better laid out, more room in the aisles and easy to move around booths and halls. Great facilities and whilst all the new tech on display could sometimes be an assault on the senses, the way the tech was presented across the venue and various booths really worked, with enough space for attendees to experience demonstrations without being hemmed in or jostled.”

MT “Fantastic new venue, facilities were excellent and the only negative (that is minor and I am not sure how this can be addressed by the organisers) is the transportation. Halls and facilities and Barcelona were excellent but transportation links at Amsterdam are superior.”

MC “From my perspective, I thought it was excellent and was one of the main contributing factors to the success of the event.”

SC “Definitely preferable. Also Barcelona also offers far more options than Amsterdam.”

CS “Amsterdam was an ISE favourite, so Barcelona had big shoes to fill, and it delivered. The new location offered plenty of flight choices, plenty of hotel choices, easy access to the venue via tram, bus, bicycle, walking and taxi, plus lots of restaurants for evening entertainment  – and the perfect weather. 

“As a venue, the Fira worked well and delivered an easier experience for attendees to find the stands they wanted to visit. The layout of the stands worked well and could be easily found; the venue looked fresh and new with great facilities.”

KL “The Fira Barcelona Gran Vía at ISE 2022 was nice and spacious, with all the halls running off each other. It was easy to get around, although some additional wayfinding would have been welcomed. 

“When not on the stand, it was very nice to be able to head to one of the outdoor seating areas to rest or work in the lovely Barcelona sunshine.

With InfoComm, how did the new West Hall add to proceedings in Vegas, and how did it compare to 2018?

IG “We were in the [new] West Hall at booth 1203, just by the exhibition hall’s entrance, and it was incredibly busy. Ostensibly the collaboration hall, our booth was also swamped with partners involved in our projection and LED video wall offerings. 

“I can’t necessarily speak to how it compared to 2018, as it feels a lifetime ago now, but InfoComm 2022 had an incredible energy about it.”

MT “I’m not sure it added anything to be honest. The halls were not full with exhibitors and I overheard many complaints about the long walk between halls.”

 CS “As an attendee, it didn’t make too much of a difference apart from giving a little more ‘breathing space’ to the show. But it’s clear the show is growing in comparison to 2018 and it was a welcome addition.”

As an exhibitor, have you rebooked to either/both events for 2023?

IG “We’re excited to say that Barco will be back for both ISE and InfoComm in 2023, spotlighting the latest we have to offer the professional audio-visual world. Watch this space!”

RH “We’ve rebooked for ISE and will be rebooking for InfoComm in June.”

MT “Yes we will.”

CS “Lightware has rebooked both events, and we look forward to 2023 with an even larger presence at both shows, especially ISE as we used 2022 as a learning year being the first in the new venue.”

KL “Yes we have rebooked ISE for 2023!”

As an attendee, will you be returning to either/both events in 2023?

IG “I will absolutely be attending both events and look forward to the wealth of innovations our partners will be bringing to a bigger, and even better crowd.”

CS “I will be attending Infocomm next year as it’s such a staple show in the calendar for us to meet with our US customers, partners and potential customers. However, I hope they have a little bit of a gap between both next year!”. 

Installation would like to take this opportunity to thank the many companies that came back promptly to us with responses to this roundtable article – far too many to feature here! As mentioned, we will run all contributions elsewhere online as soon as possible.