Exclusive: Visitor numbers smash past 80,000 as “record breaking” ISE draws to a close

ISE’s MD Mike Blackman hails “fantastic” show – as planning for a bigger and even better ISE 2019 gets underway
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ISE’s MD Mike Blackman hails “fantastic” show – as planning for a bigger and even better ISE 2019 gets underway

ISE MD Mike Blackman has branded ISE 2018 as a “fantastic success” with attendee and visitor numbers smashing all previous records.

Speaking exclusively to AVTE on the final day of the show, Blackman revealed that attendance numbers have now surpassed 80,000 for the first time, up from last years then record breaking 73,000.

Mike Blackman interview CEO ISE-Pic-DB-D1

Exhibitors numbers also topped 1,200, of which 291 of those were attending the show for the first time as the industry and value of showcasing at ISE continues to grow.

“The show has been absolutely fantastic,” said Blackman. “We’ve had tremendous growth, growing around 10 per cent over the last year. We’ve have a brand new hall (Hall 15) and 291 brand new exhibitors showing. That really tremendous growth and says so much about the industry and the show. Attendee’s are up too. We already know that we’re going to be a little bit north of 80,000, up from 73,000 last year, so it's been a success across the board, however you look at it.”

We’ve had tremendous growth, growing around 10 per cent over the last year

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We’ve done a lot of hosted buyer programmes which are certainly very relevant to AV Technology Europe readers

Education, education, education

Blackman also reiterated comments he made at the official opening of ISE Monday (February 5th), stating that whilst ISE is a fantastic opportunity for the industry to showcase and see/experience the latest AV product, it’s also a great opportunity for the industry – particularly end users, to educate themselves.

ISE holds numerous conferences and programmes, conferences and tours (in addition to exhibitors own plans) for visitors to attend and/or participate in.

ISE showfloor

Highlights included TIDE (Technology. Innovation. Design. Experience) ­– (which made its debut this year following success at InfoComm last year), The Smart Building Conference, the annual Audio Forum conference, Digital Signage Summit, Sports Venue and Engagement Summit and its first XR Summit, exploring the development of XR – Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality. More details here.

Blackman said there are already plans in place, whilst others are being finalised to enhance the educational aspect of the show, providing more value to the market,

“We’ve done a lot of hosted buyer programmes which are certainly very relevant to AV Technology Europe readers (end users). There’s been so much happening and there’s going to a lot more of these. A real focus on quality, because quantity is happening on its own.”

We’ve already started planning for next year. Re-bookings have been incredible, so we’re almost full

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Complete package

And why does ISE continue to have such widening appeal to the market? The answer, so says Blackman, is down to its complete market offering – be it commercial, residential, or the different levels of the AV chain: end users, integrators, distributors, manufacturers and so on.

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“We’re quite unique across the world. CEDIA for example covers residential, InfoComm covers commercial. We cover it all here. It’s great for companies like Crestron, Harman and others who cover a broad spectrum of the market, not just one or the other. They can come here and do everything, present to a compete channel and the corporates as well.

“We’ve already started planning for next year. Re-bookings have been incredible, so we’re almost full. We have some new ideas for next year, a few new conferences – there are a lot of things we’re planning.”

As for murmurs of a possible relocation due to fears ISE is outgrowing the RAI, Blackman admitted this was a possibility.

“It may come to that,” said Blackman. “Certainly for the next couple of years it’s big enough for us, so we’ll see how things unfold.”

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