Taking place on the final day of ISE 2020, the ¡Hola Barcelona! event provided an opportunity for Integrated Systems Europe to take stock – reflecting on its long and happy association with the RAI Amsterdam, and looking ahead to its new home at the Fira Barcelona.
While the dual-impact of travel disruption due to Storm Ciara and fears surrounding the coronavirus meant this was quite not the final Amsterdam show organisers would have wanted, there was still an understandable sense of achievement as ISE MD Mike Blackman was joined by CEDIA CEO Tabatha O’Connor and AVIXA CEO David Labuskes to recall the event’s remarkable trajectory.
“They say mighty oaks grow from little acorns… Well, the first show took place in Geneva in 2004 with 120 exhibitors and only 2,800sqm.” Even then and prior to the show’s relocation to Amsterdam, “we knew we’d launched something that had enormous potential, and it touched a nerve. Over the years we’ve become the world’s largest AV and systems integration trade show.”
Echoing Blackman, Labuskes paid tribute to the collaborative spirit of the RAI and the city of Amsterdam, highlighting their “amazing hospitality [and] the value of the actual show, and the community that show creates and reinforces in celebration. Nothing has changed each year except that the celebrations have gotten bigger, the learning has gotten bigger, and the hospitality has gotten warmer.”
There was also news of a lasting legacy to Amsterdam, with ISE set to collaborate with other industry members to outfit an MDU that will house patient families at the city’s Emma Children’s Hospital.
Appropriately enough, ¡Hola Barcelona! also looked ahead to the event’s future home with contributions from several regional governmental and trade representatives.
Noting that both Amsterdam and Barcelona possess strong “entrepreneurial spirits”, Barcelona City Council Office for Enterprise, Culture and Innovation promotions director Mario Rubert said that ISE’s new home “will try to be a long-term partner for you. Barcelona is the city for a lifetime project.”
With ISE already having a dedicated office up-and-running in Barcelona, attention will now shift to the first show in the city, due to take place from 2-5 February 2021.