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Opinion: Get the full benefit of ISE

Are you all set for ISE? I know I always say this, but the show will be bigger than ever this year – with more halls and more exhibitors, but also more events to attend away from the showfloor.

This will be the third year that the ISE showfloor has been open for four days. It was a move that the organisers didn’t make lightly, as it necessitates extra spending for exhibitors. But the sheer volume of attendees made the move essential – exhibitors didn’t get the chance to see everyone they wanted to, and the aisles and escalators became rammed at peak hours.

Putting an extra day on the end has helped to spread the load over a longer period of time, but for the last two years, attendance on the Friday was significantly below the other days. And this year, talking to exhibitors’ marketing and PR people about setting meetings at the show, I’ve been struck by how many of them are leaving before the end.

While many other shows are front-loaded, there’s a strong events programme at ISE spread evenly across the week

But there’s something of a vicious circle here: fewer people attend the show on the Friday, so exhibitors have fewer people on their stands, so those that do attend don’t always get to see the people they wanted to, and so people get put off from attending on the Friday, and so on…

Now it’s understandable that people want to get home in good time for the weekend after a tradeshow. (I leave after the show ends on Friday, but my heart always goes out to the people involved in breaking down stands, who won’t get home to their families for another day or two.) But I wonder if some of this attendance pattern is because of the belief that the first day is the ‘best’ day to visit a show. While that’s true for some shows, I really don’t think it applies to ISE any more. While many other shows are front-loaded, there’s a strong events programme at ISE spread evenly across the week.

We’re now a long way from the time when all the conferences took place on the Monday before the exhibition opened. Sure, there’s still a busy programme on that day, including AVIXA’s new TIDE conference, AudioForum and that perennial favourite, the Smart Building Conference, which segues neatly into the Opening Address. But this year there are conferences running through the week: the XR Summit on Tuesday, the ISE Digital Signage Summit on Wednesday, the new Sports Venue and Fan Engagement Summit on Thursday and blooloopLIVE on Friday. The last day also sees the awards ceremony for the World Masters of Projection Mapping competition.There are also strong offerings from AVIXA’s and CEDIA’s professional development programmes, and the Show Floor Theatres, during the entirety of the show.

So, if you haven’t considered coming to ISE on the Friday, you really should. It’s likely to be a more pleasant experience in the aisles and refreshment queues. And – assuming you don’t have to break down a stand – you can head for home at 4 o’clock with a completely clear conscience!