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Mouthwatering prospect: ISE is less than two weeks away!

As the industry starts to mentally, if not physically, pack ahead of ISE 2022, Installation editor Rob Lane gets excited about the full-fat return of the pro AV event of the year, and rounds up some of the things we can expect to see as Integrated Systems Events prepares the event's true Barcelona debut

So, it’s finally here. Barring a new Covid variant that renders travel in and out of Barcelona unviable (or, God forbid, something even worse – we’re not exactly living in a peaceful world currently, after all), ISE 2022 looks set to go ahead on May 10-13 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Vía following its February postponement. Although a scaled back, ‘regional’ version of ISE took place in 2021, this year will be the first time the AV industry has had the chance to fully get together since we all awkwardly touched elbows and grabbed the free hand wash from those huge bins at the Amsterdam RAI in February 2020.

We really had no idea what was coming, did we? Seems crazy now that tens of thousands of us were happy to forego the handshakes, but didn’t wear masks at the time. Presumably barely a face will be mask-free at ISE 2022. If the Alimentaria Exhibition at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Vía during April 4-7 is anything to go by, we’ll all be masked-up.

I guess we’ll know in a few weeks (only four as I write this!) – or if you’ve picked this edition of Installation up at the event in the ‘media library’
you’ll be experiencing the Covid etiquette in real time! ISE will inform us in early May as to any restrictions.

At the time of writing, around 800 exhibitors had been confirmed for ISE 2022, gracing five “state-of-the-art” halls. This is, of course, substantially less than the 1,300 or so that filled the RAI to bursting at the final Amsterdam event, but given the ongoing travel restrictions across the globe, particularly in China, which is struggling with the Covid pandemic currently, the confirmed booths are a triumph for the team at Integrated Systems Events.

It’s a shame we won’t get to see the Fira de Barcelona Gran Vía ‘full’ for its first ISE outing. The event had outgrown the RAI – there were only so many ‘extension’ halls ISE could bolt on to it! – and navigating it had proved more arduous over the last few years (despite our industry’s digital signage credentials!), so it’ll be interesting to see how Barcelona compares, like for like, next year.

The RAI was also notoriously tricky to exit in particular, in terms of trams and cabs (getting to the event was less of a challenge). How many of us stood in the freezing rain or snow hoping for a cab or space on public transport? ISE has certainly moved to make Barcelona an easier place to traverse, possibly with help from the City’s officials, who were understandably very keen for the event to come to Catalonia. ISE is providing a free metro and bus travel pass for all attendees, to make the trip between hotels and the Gran Via as “easy as possible”, and the free travel pass also includes routes to the airport. Attendees can collect passes from one of the information points inside the South and East Access from 2pm on Monday May 10. It is valid for 96 hours (4 x 24 hours) from first use.

Integrated Systems Events managing director Mike Blackman is set to give his opening speech after cutting the ribbon on the opening of ISE 2022 at 10am on May 10. The opening keynote address will then come from media artist and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence, Refik Anadol, on the same day. Anadol paints with a ‘thinking brush’, offering radical visualisations of our digitised memories and ‘expanding the possibilities of architecture, narrative, and the body in motion’.

His ‘In the Mind of Gaudí’, is an immersive installation inspired by Casa Batlló and this work is showcased in the Gaudí Cube, the world’s first six-LED-wall room. It shows the different creative capacities of the combination of digital image, big data, and AI and explores new ways to bring digital art closer to the general public.

Day 2’s keynote comes from Alan Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of Illuminarium. ‘Next Generation Immersive Entertainment’ will explore’ the technical challenges and the exciting future’ as Greenberg maps out the Next Generation of Immersive Entertainment.

Talking of influencers, the new Influencer Lounge, sponsored by Monitor Audio, is set to excite at ISE 2022. Located in Hall 2, the Lounge is designed to be a base for influencers and content creators to create and show off their exciting show-related content. The Influencer Lounge will host a Happy Hour for influencers and registered media at 5pm on Tuesday to Thursday, as well as meet-ups and breakfasts daily at 1030am.

The ISE Conference programme for 2022 includes the new Smart Workplace Summit, new Superyacht Technology Summit and new Live Events Summit. In addition, there’s the Smart Building Conference, which covers commercial, residential and office opportunities, and will explore how the unfolding new technology landscape facilitates the deployment of smart technology within buildings; plus the Control Rooms Summit and Digital Signage Summit.

On the show floor of ISE itself, visitors should find plenty to inspire them in the Residential and Smart Building Zone in Hall 2, including systems
for designing lighting that respond to changes in ambient light levels, alongside the latest developments in connectivity standards, unified comms and technologies for improving the visual impact of loudspeakers and more.

This year, ISE has also teamed up with IOT Solutions World Congress – the largest international event devoted to industry transformation through disruptive technologies – taking place in Hall 4 of the Fira during the first three days of ISE. IOTSWC will bring to the table leading experts and companies working on AI, digital twins, IoT and quantum computing.

The event will showcase how these and other emerging technologies can transform entire companies and industries. ISE attendees will
be able to explore common ground, discover disruptive technologies and generate new ideas and collaboration opportunities at no extra cost. More than 100 companies are confirmed as exhibiting, including Siemens, Huawei, Kaspersky, AWS, Hewlett Packard and ABB.

“AV and IT convergence has been the single most important industry trend at ISE over the past decade and the inspiring innovations happening in IoT take this to another level,” explains Mike Blackman. “With our two events now happening at the same time and place this May, it is very exciting to be able to work together and explore even more areas of collaboration. The exciting world of pro AV and the inspiring innovations in IoT make all sorts of possibilities a reality.”

Elsewhere, the ISE Retail Showcase will run alongside the Digital Signage Avenue in Hall 6 every day of the show. Taking visitors on a journey through the ultimate frictionless retail experience, and focused on usability and real-world scenarios, this 160m2 booth will recreate a series of retail environments to best highlight the latest technologies. Mock-ups of fashion and grocery stores will feature best-in-class digital signage solutions, sensors and retail analytics devices in
this hands-on show feature.

The ISE Retail Showcase has been curated by Florian Rotberg, managing director of digital signage consultancy, invidis, and chair of the Digital Signage Summit. “The demand for cutting edge digital solutions in retail is as strong as ever,” he explains. “Working with some really great partners, Econocom in partnership with 99Sensors and with support of dozens of solution providers, we have created the ISE Retail Showcase to demonstrate how today’s AV technology delivers real benefits and showcase real-world settings.”

Showcase will demonstrate tech side by side in a vendor agnostic showcase. It has been tailored for end-users to explore what technologies, touchpoint concepts and data is best suited for retail apps, and is set in four distinct areas: a retail store, supermarket, hybrid office and control centre setting.

Within these four areas, visitors will be able to explore: Sensors enhancing the retail experience; automatic supermarket checkout; people counter / audience measurement; anti-Covid solutions; comparing and explaining sensor technologies; controlling digital signage installations by sensors; dashboards; analytics technologies; people counter comparison; and a sensor playground.

Brands set to be showcased include Samsung, LG and Philips, the first kiosk/totem control device, Kiosk IQ, sensor technologies from  Nexmosphere, M5stack, Xovis, 99sensors and others.

Also making its debut at ISE 2022, in Hall 6, is the Digital Signage Avenue. This multi-application show floor feature will bring together and present
a selection of the world’s leading DS and DooH technologies, and will allow attendees to experience the state-of-the art digital signage in action.

Finally, the AV Experience Zone is a four-day event during ISE aimed at bringing Spanish end-users closer to the pro AV industry and to integration professionals.

It all adds up to what is possibly the most mouth-watering event for the AV industry ever, given we  haven’t been starved of our annual fix of ISE since the show was launched back in the early noughties – and certainly haven’t been disrupted in this way by a pandemic since the acronym ‘AV’ became a thing.

Installation has everything crossed that nothing will stand in its way. See you on the show floor!