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Exclusive: ISE MD Mike Blackman on 2023’s main event

Integrated Systems Events managing director on ISE's first winter Barcelona event: what to expect, what not to miss!

ISE 2023 feels like the first full-fat show we’ve had since 2020’s Covid event, and the first ISE in Barcelona without Covid’s infectious shadow. Does it feel like back to normal to you too?
For sure, we are delighted with the progress that has been made since ISE 2022 – as you’ve probably already heard we have well over 1,000 exhibitors and ISE 2023 is going to be over 30% bigger and busier than last year.

We have a fantastic ISE Conference programme put together by AVIXA and CEDIA is producing a three day Smart Home Conference schedule – there are Tech Tours happening to exciting venues across Barcelona – our two amazing keynote speakers and lots more to discover on the show floor.

What can we expect that perhaps we didn’t see or experience in May 2022?
Well we have a thriving show floor with new Technology Zones added and Audio Demo Rooms – as well as content and booths from AVIXA and CEDIA, we’re looking forward to being joined by big names such as Absen, Blackmagic Design, Barco, Christie, Crestron, Google, KNX, Lang, LG, Logitech, Panasonic, Samsung, Shure, Sony and many more, all providing visitors with plenty of reasons to visit the show.  And of course, we have the companies making their debut – we have around 120 first-time exhibitors who will take up 3,630sqm of floorspace at the Fira. Many first-time exhibitors can be found in the Discovery Zone, situated in Congress Square between Halls 4 & 6 and Halls 5 & 7. In fact the Congress Square area has a new focus for 2023 with the ISE Open Innovation Challenge taking place at the Catalan Pavillon, the Influencer Lounge and the Impact Lounge being located there, a Media Gallery and some networking areas. But a really exciting new area is the new Content Production & Distribution Zone in Hall 6.

Virtual production – and the ongoing ‘merger’ between AV and broadcast – is making a big splash at ISE 2023. What can we expect to see, and can we expect 2024’s ISE to include even more broadcast/AV exhibitors and tech?
Yes, as the industry evolves, so does the show. ISE 2023 sees a dedicated shift to embrace content production and distribution as part of this globally important proAV and systems integration exhibition. We have a new addition to the conference programme – the Content Production & Distribution Summit, sponsored by the IABM, will take place on Tuesday 31 January and will explore the strategies and technologies behind the creation, management and distribution of video content. Sessions will address how the power of a story can be unleashed to the world through the use of easy to access technology and keynote speakers include Tatxo Benet, Partner, GRUP MEDIAPRO. The summit, chaired by futurist Amelia Kallman has been curated by Ciarán Doran, a consultant and senior executive with extensive experience of the worlds of broadcast, content production and AV technology.

The new Content Production & Distribution Zone in Hall 6 features an exciting array of varied exhibits from a select group of organisations in content production and distribution, including GRUP MEDIAPRO and the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (CCMA). With 52 offices across 31 countries and employing more than 8,000 professionals, GRUP MEDIAPRO provides the creativity and technical solutions necessary to design, produce and distribute any audiovisual or multi-channel project in any corner of the globe using state-of-the-art technology. The CCMA manages the audiovisual media of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Televisió de Catalunya channels and the Catalunya Ràdio broadcasting group.  The new technology zone in Hall 6 features include for example:

  • TV3 Studio by CCMA The CCMA will be sharing its experience in immersive production and new audio and image transmission systems on its 200 m² stand located in the technology zone in Hall 6.  In this large space, visitors will be able to see, live, how innovative 360° cameras are used to create content or a live broadcast of human towers, a Catalan tradition in which men, women and children raise constructions of up 10 levels.
  • The Content Studio by GRUP MEDIAPRO and invidis will showcase broadcast technologies and will combine a schedule of C-Suite interviews and industry panel discussions with practical demonstrations. The Content Studio will use the Unreal Engine platform showcasing ‘live’ content production and postproduction throughout the day. Come and see interviews conducted with senior execs programmed and hosted by Florian Rotberg, chair of the Digital Signage Summit and managing director of invidis, alongside senior executives from GRUP MEDIAPRO and ISE.
  • The Esports & Gaming Showcase from Absen, with support from PSCo and Big Purple Productions, will highlight the latest LED displays designed for gaming and esports, together with the technologies required to create, capture and distribute gaming content. Real-life 1-2-1 gaming league will be run throughout the week, with daily prizes drawn from participants during the show. There will also be a grand prize awarded at the end of the week – so make sure you visit the Gaming Showcase and get involved in the gaming to win a prize!

Also, relevant exhibitors are threaded throughout the whole show floor too – look out for virtual studio software developer Axximetry; AVoIP, HDBaseT and HDMI distribution device manufacturer Netvio; electronic accessories manufacturer Vanco; and Flylights, which offers transparent LED displays, among many others.

What’s the vibe around this year’s event, from the ISE team and industry at large?
Well I think you said it at the beginning, we are back to some kind of normality – ISE is thriving, its exciting, its going to be busy and we cannot wait to meet old friends and make new ones. ISE is always about making connections that matter – in business and in friendship and we are ready for the challenge.  See you in Barcelona.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers; any other must-attend nuggets or granular detail?
Please register, and of course take the time to come and enjoy ISE but also the city of Barcelona – it’s such a lovely city and I’m really looking forward to being there soon. One thing to add, please download the official ISE App as everyone entering the venue will need to show the Digital Voucher which is in the app. But don’t worry, there will be physical badges too – the first time you come into the Fira, present the digital entry voucher at one of the desks to receive the printed show badge.

The ISE 2023 app is sponsored by Presenting Show Partner KNX and is packed full of information, with an extensive Agenda of conferences and show events, an Exhibitors section featuring details of over 1000 companies on the show floor, and a Speakers section containing details of the hundreds of expert professionals speaking during the show.

I’m told there will also be a chance to win an iPhone and some other prizes – so watch out for the signs and QR codes hidden around the venue to take advantage of this offer!