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Let the immersive experience begin! 

Mike Blackman, centre, with Panasonic’s Hartmut Kulessa (left) and Jan Markus on the company’s virtual stage yesterday. The three are involved in Panasonic Connect’s interactive live stream which will be broadcast on the company’s social channels at 17:00 today. Simon Kentish, CEO, Frameless UK, also participated

As ISE 2023 officially opens its doors, MD Mike Blackman (pictured) tells the Daily of the incredible support the show has received from Spanish institutions. He revealed that today’s inauguration and tour by King Felipe VI of Spain will be followed by a visit from president Pere Aragonès of Catalonia tomorrow. 

“It’s a fantastic sign of recognition and of the importance Spanish institutions place on ISE,” Michael Blackman, ISE’s MD, told the ISE Daily. “We’ve never had this buy-in from any other city or region, they’re all getting behind us.” 

In fact, this year’s ISE is the biggest ever in terms of floor space. “This is a record, with 56,867sqm (net), not including aisles and space between the halls,” Blackman reveal.

There’s also been a noticeable bounce back from Covid-hit 2022, with 1,055 exhibitors here in total compared to 1,300 at the last Amsterdam show. “We haven’t seen a full rebound, but it’s a substantial growth over last year, when we only had 800,” he added.

Dave Labuskes, CEO of AVIXA, is certainly no stranger to trade shows, but speaking to the ISE Daily on the AVIXA Xchange Live stand in Hall 3 during the build-up, his excitement as he awaits the grand opening of ISE 2023 is evident. 

“When we open the doors on the first morning, and the crowd rushes in, funnelling in through the turnstiles, there’s a buzz in the air and all of our exhibitors are lined up and ready,” he says. “I love this event in particular, because there’s 20 languages being spoken at once as people walk through the door. 

“It’s this moment of gathering, this moment of community, and a realisation of hope and anticipation; I get high off that moment, at every event,” he adds. 

Talking to exhibitors, Labuskes notes that what ISE offers them that they can’t replicate anywhere else is the access to the rest of the ecosystem. “So much of our industry is dependent upon collaborating between multiple technology developers, manufacturers, and solutions. This is the place where those relationships can be discovered, nurtured and realised,” he says. “You can’t do that on a webpage, you can’t do that on a webinar, you have to do that here.”

CEDIA president and CEO Daryl Friedman explained to the ISE Daily that the AV industry has been hit by a global labour shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic, and CEDIA is doing something about it. 

On Wednesday, Friedman will unveil a major workforce initiative as the centrepiece of a three-year growth strategy. “One of the things I heard a lot about when talking to members is the need for labour,” Friedman explained. “So, we’re addressing that with a global workforce initiative which will see us go into schools in partnership with our members to help recruit the next generation. We’ve put together a great presentation toolkit that will help us reach a potential 100,000 new integrators.”

At ISE 2023, CEDIA has a packed professional development programme alongside hosting the Smart Home Technology Stage in Hall 2. Sessions will explore how future technologies will impact business, best practice on how to run a business and advice for working with contractors and the gig economy.

At Wednesday’s AGM, Friedman will expand on CEDIA’s strategic aims to increase the organisation’s presence among adjacent trades such as the design and build community as well as among consumers. “We want CEDIA certification to mean a lot to the end user,” he said. “We’ll explain how we’re making an investment in new markets and expanding CEDIA’s reach around the world.”

Friedman joined CEDIA in 2021 after three decades with the Recording Academy, guardian of the Grammy’s, making this his second ISE show. “We were just so pleased with the response to ISE 2022. It proved that people want to gather in person. I can’t wait to explore all of ISE 2023 and wish everyone a great show!”