The day has finally arrived when ISE returns as a full in-person event at its new home in Barcelona, some 27 months after its last full scale outing in Amsterdam.
Today, the AV community comes together again after more than two years of some of the toughest business and operating conditions in living memory. And it does so with optimism for a brighter outlook for the industry’s near and longer term prospects as it recovers from the pandemic period.
The themes of hope, regeneration and industry renewal are all central to this year’s event, and are reflected in the I RISE immersive projection mapping event, which is taking place throughout this week at the Fira Montjuïc, Plaça d’Espanya. Created and produced by the local Flaix Studio, the projection will map onto the iconic curved buildings on the Placa d’Espanya from 21:00 to 23:00 each evening, with a VIP reception taking place tonight on the roof terrace of the Catalonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel opposite.
Mike Blackman, ISE managing director, spoke to the ISE Daily about the trials, tribulations and eventual triumph in getting to today’s landmark opening day in Barcelona.
“Myself and the team, we persevered [through the pandemic]. I was travelling; I was backwards and forwards here, making meetings, getting ready to actually have a show. And I’m glad now we’re ready to go,” he says.
He goes on to say that here in its new home, to him the show feels like a normal ISE. “We’re missing about 300 Chinese customers, and missing a few Americans who have the problem with InfoComm being so close to ISE this year, as a result of our rescheduling. So those are challenges, but I do not regret moving to this date because it was the right decision. We see that in the results; we see that in the commitment from the exhibitors.
“We have 48,000 square metres on the floor here [for 2022], but we had actually signed contracts at the end of the 2020 show for 67,000 net square metres from 900 companies,” he adds. “And we still had 300 or 400 companies to deal with. We hope we can get back to that very soon here at the Gran Vía.”
Dave Labuskes, AVIXA CEO, tells the Daily that “Barcelona has been extraordinary” in its support of ISE throughout the process. “It’s been a fantastic partner through our beginning times together, and through this most difficult period; it has just reaffirmed the choice that we made.
“We are so pleased to be here,” he enthuses. “The city has rolled out the red carpet for us, as well as aligning a huge number of resources to get us to where we are this week, as well as to carry us forward.”
Daryl Friedman, CEDIA’s global president and CEO, agrees. “In-person events are very important to us. So, to see this happening today, and with much better attendance than some of us expected is exciting.”
From the show floor, the buoyancy was equally on display with exhibitors looking forward to an ISE that will showcase innovations and solutions inspired and accelerated by the conditions of the last couple of years, that are set to equip businesses for the new environments in which they operate, particularly with hybrid working and learning solutions.
“People now need solutions for at-home, for at-office, and for go-anywhere,” says Aurangzeb Khan SVP, intelligent vision systems, and collaboration business, at Jabra. “We’ve found that solutions need to be more inclusive, and able to present everybody equitably.”
Over at Clevertouch Technologies, Adam Kingshott (group marketing director) explains that the company arrives at ISE this week having seen an overall positive impact to its business during the pandemic period. “We’ve had to adjust our strategy quickly, and what might have taken 10 years to innovate has been compressed into two. We have also stockpiled components… to avoid both component supply chain issues and increased container costs.”
ISE will also see new solutions from Guntermann & Drunck, whose marketing director, Jessica Lange says that the 2022 show is a great opportunity for the company. “We are really happy to be back because it is really important to meet customers, to understand their requirements and needs, and see how their environment is evolving. ISE is a really good place to showcase our products and solutions, but also get the input from our customers.”
To keep up to date with all the latest goings on through the week, pick up a copy of the ISE Daily at the show, read our digital edition, or download the official ISE app.