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ISE On the Move

AV pros react to ISE’s move from Amsterdam to Barcelona in 2021.

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE)—widely recognized as the world’s largest gathering of AV professionals—is moving from Amsterdam to Barcelona in 2021. The potential move was the talk of this year’s show as temporary structures had to be erected to simply accommodate the current number of exhibitors and visitors.

The 2018 show attracted close to 81,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors; with an average growth of 10 percent per year, it’s clear the show needed to make a move.

“Demand from exhibitors and the continued increase in the numbers of attendees showed us that limited floor space was in danger of putting a brake on the show’s development,” said Mike Blackman managing director, Integrated Systems Events. “In spite of all our best efforts this was not an issue we felt could be solved by staying at the RAI Amsterdam.”

After 18 months of research, the decision was made to make the Gran Via, part of the Fira de Barcelona exhibition complex, the new permanent home for ISE. “Not only is the new venue a state of the art home for our show but the city of Barcelona is one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting,” added Tabatha O’Connor, CEDIA global president and CEO. “It’s the perfect choice for an exhibition and growing industry that engenders creativity and commerce.”

Those are the official statements, but what do people in the industry really think about the move? We asked a variety of #AVTweeps about ISE Barcelona and here’s what they had to say:

Amsterdam has been a great ISE venue for many years, but home technology has been taking off quickly in the European markets and the industry has clearly outgrown the space. We’re excited for the show’s move for greater space, new venues for our annual dealer party and awards, and hopefully even to welcome new attendees. Especially because we can showcase our residential as well as some of our commercial offerings at the show, we anticipate having more ways to do so in Barcelona in the future.

—Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Control4

There is always a lot of excitement surrounding a move to a new tradeshow venue. Having a larger space will definitely help accommodate the continued growth of ISE, making it easier for manufacturers and attendees to get the most out of their experience. While a new move is always exciting, there is always a little trepidation as well. How much of the lure of ISE is due to the central Amsterdam location and will the 80k+ attendees make the same trip to Spain? From a manufacturer point of view, your investment and ROI is driven by traffic at the show so knowing what to expect at the RAI is comforting and makes it easier to prepare for the show. However, a new venue could bring increased attendance and new opportunities.

Lauren Simmen, Marketing Manager AMETEK Electronic Systems Protection

Change can be difficult and unpredictable. The lack of familiarity for us will present the biggest challenges with the move from Amsterdam, but at the same time, we are looking forward to becoming familiar with Barcelona. The RAI in Amsterdam was becoming too small to continue to host ISE, and it was difficult to navigate the show because of the various exhibition halls. Because the RAI was at capacity, it contributed to cost increases for exhibit space that was making the show much more costly for the exhibitors. Having a larger exhibit space will encourage new exhibitors to attend, and it should help to keep the exhibit space affordable. Of course, the warmer weather in Spain will also be nice.

—Kevin Main, President, Torus Power

As a company passionate about design, we’re looking forward to immersing ourselves in Barcelona’s rich history of art and architecture and their incredible culture. While we loved our time in Amsterdam, we’re excited for a change of scenery and to have new places to be inspired by. We do a lot of work in Spain and have great partners there and we think the move has the potential to bring a new audience and new opportunities to the show.

—Noah Kaplan, Founder and President, Leon Speakers

After many years as an exhibitor at ISE in Amsterdam, we are sad to say goodbye to a great venue and city. Moving to a new venue and city in 2021 we expect will take some getting used to as far as determining the best place to exhibit on the show floor, working with a new on-site crew and getting to know the city of Barcelona. However, these are not major challenges to overcome—to new beginnings!

—Loren Shaw, Vice President of Marketing, InFocus

The new Mediterranean destination with warmer climate is a plus. But more importantly, the larger convention center, Fira de Barcelona, will allow for future growth, more attendees, and easier navigation of the show floor. As a founding member of ISE, we are excited for the move to Barcelona and support the continued growth and success of ISE.

—Vijita U.G., Marketing Manager, Stewart Filmscreen

While Amsterdam has always served as a fantastic venue to host ISE, it is great to see that they are accommodating the continued growth of our industry—not to mention in yet another beautiful city. From our standpoint, the move can only serve as a positive because it will make more room for more attendees and exhibitors and continue to foster international growth for exhibitors. It’s a win-win for all.

—Josh Carlson, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, D-Tools