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Mike Blackman interview: Reaching the right people

ISE managing director Mike Blackman said yesterday he is “confident” that the show will set another attendance record this year – but that a successful event is about more than the numbers.

He told the ISE Daily: “What we strive to do every year is bring more of the right people.” This year, that has included a special focus on the world of IT. “All the products in our industry are becoming network-reliant; and the IT guys are saying, ‘You can’t connect that to my network if I don’t know how it works.’”

The challenge, he added, is to bring IT professionals to ISE and show them that what they do is very close to what the AV integration industry does. “Our exhibitors want to speak to those guys directly and show them the necessity of a relationship between the two sectors.”

This year there is the added challenge of getting attendees to stay longer – “because there’s not enough time to see the whole of this show in two or three days.” Responses to ISE questionnaires indicate there will be a substantial audience for the Friday keynote by futurist Dr Michio Kaku – “but my concern is they stay there all day” – and pointed to initiatives such as ‘Meet the CEO’ that are designed to ensure attendees have key exhibitor staff to meet on
the final day.

So how would he like ISE 2016 to be remembered? “I hope people will go away saying, ‘Wow!’. I hope the new attendees will say, ‘When is next year’s show? – because this has been such a learning curve for me, I want to go again’. And I hope that those people that have always come with us still see the significance of ISE to this industry and are still behind us because they see us as part of their business.”