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Exclusive: AVIXA chairman of the board on ISE 2021

Jon Sidwick, chairman of the board of directors for AVIXA, on this year's ISE

Following the London ISE regional event, Jon Sidwick, president of Collabtech Group and chairman of the board of directors for AVIXA, gives us his take on an unusual year for the annual event. 

If you visited either event, how was it overall for you – both in terms of it being worthwhile, and also in terms of the Covid safety measures? Would you attend a small regional event again in the future – either if it was forced by Covid or if ISE rolled them out as an add-on to the main annual show?
I was able to attend the events in both Barcelona and London. Both shows were incredibly well organised and complied to the rules in each country to give people the best experiences, whilst at the same time keeping them safe. 

Attending both events was an amazing experience. To finally be with people again after 18 months highlighted perfectly what we have all been missing. We all managed to cope incredibly well in a ‘video world’, however nothing beats actually being with people and interacting in the same space. 

It will be interesting to see if regional shows have a place in our industry moving forwards. Most people relished meeting and talking rather than focusing on product. Maybe there is a future role for more people only events. 

How were the main stage talks/speeches – those that you saw?
The ‘AVIXA Experience’ in Spain was very well attended and offered tremendous value showing the thirst for directly delivered knowledge. The digital content quality was some of the best I have seen and enabled me to focus show time on physical meetings and then go back and catch up on main stage content post show. 

What about the spread of exhibitors: Okay, given the circumstances?
Those who I talked to were all so pleased that they attended. Of course, it would have been great to see more, but this was the first step in getting back to live events. 

How has ISE 2021 influenced your feelings about the event as a whole? Has it made you more determined to have a great 2022, or has it dampened your enthusiasm? Do you have any suggestions for ISE for 2022 based on what you saw this year?
It has 100% given me so much enthusiasm and optimism for getting back to large scale events as soon as possible. Infocomm in October will be incredible and the thirst for live events moving into 2022 will be off the scale. 

Finally, it has been a very difficult time for everyone, not least ISE: horrible decisions to have to make. How do you think the organisers fared? Could they and should they have done things differently, and if so what?
The ISE team did an incredible job of negotiating an ever-changing landscape whilst dealing with hundreds of exhibitors and messaging tens of thousands of attendees. ISE 2019 feels a lifetime ago however, the journey from 55,000 attendees in Amsterdam to our industry waking up again in Barcelona shows the creativity and dedication of the ISE team. I know the effort being put into 2022 is enormous and the exhibitor enthusiasm to make this a massive event is a great sign of how significant this show will be.