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ISE expected to hit 100,000 visitors by 2021 and double in size within 10-years

ISE's MD Mike Blackman reveals show's forecasts and expectations ahead of move to Barcelona

The annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show is on course to see attendance numbers reach 100,000 when it makes it debut in Barcelona in 2021. 

The show – the biggest of its kind for the AV industry – has seen a typical rise in visitors of between five and six per cent in recent years, topping 81,000 at the 2018 instalment at the RAI (Amsterdam) in February for the first time.

Speaking to AVTE, the show’s founder and MD, Mike Blackman said the current trajectory will see numbers reach 85,000 at next year’s show and 90,000 in 2020 – which will be its last in Amsterdam – and as high as 100,000 in Barcelona a year later.

“We’re lucky because we’re in an industry that’s ever evolving,” said Blackman. “We’re seeing between five and six per cent growth every year and we believe we’ll be somewhere around 95,000 and 100,000. That’s conservative.”

Value over volume 

He continued: “AV is key to experiences. More and more companies are putting collaboration rooms in their offices. More and more companies are using video conferencing. More and more retailers are getting involved in using AV as part of how they sell and present their products. VR is being used in car showrooms. It’s [AV] touching more and more of these companies. It’s not the fact we’re trying to grab more people, it’s more that people are getting more and more interested in what we have to offer.”

His comments and ISE’s forecasts are closely aligned with the significant growth being seen in the AV industry in recent years and future projections. According to AVIXA (parent company to ISE) – global AV revenues will see a rise of 4.7 percent annually between 2016 ($178 billion) and 2022, topping $230 billion. 

The culmination of industry forecasts and the growth seen at ISE, which saw more than 1,300 companies and 140 turned away due to a lack of space, were a key reason behind its decision to relocate the show to Barcelona from 2021. 

The Gran Via (part of Fira de Barcelona), is one of Europe’s largest purpose built exhibition centres, providing 200,000sqm of floor space – around four times more that that provided by the RAI.

With additional space at the Gran Via, which regularly supports events such as Mobile World Congress – which attracts 110,000-plus visitors and 2,000 exhibitors – Blackman believes ISE has the potential to “double in size” within the next 10-years. 

An extraordinary rise when comparing show’s debut in Geneva back in 2004, which attracted just 3,500 visitors and 120 exhibitors. 

“If we look at the floor space, based on our expectations, my honest belief based on where the industry is going and what’s happening and where we see potential growth, I believe within 10-years, we can double the size of the show. We’re at 55,000 net square metres right now and we believe we can double the size of the show within 10-years.”

He added: “It’s like buying your first house,” analogised Blackman. “At first, everything is perfect, you have plenty of room and everything you think you could ever want or need. Then you start a family and suddenly you need a bigger backyard. ISE needed a big backyard.”

  • AVTE will be running an extended interview with Mike Blackman, discussing the switch from Amsterdam to Barcelona in the upcoming magazine, out next month.
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