Before ISE 2014 opened its doors today in Amsterdam, more than 950 exhibitors were putting the finishing touches to their booths, helping to ensure that the 11th Integrated Systems Europe will be not just the largest tradeshow for professional AV and systems integration ever held in Europe, but also the brightest and the busiest.
The 2014 total of 952 exhibiting companies represents an increase of more than six percent on last year’s figure, and more than 200 of those companies are completely new to ISE.
The show occupies more than 36,000 net square meters for the first time, while pre-registration also reached record levels. Yet Mike Blackman, the event’s managing director, believes the real story of ISE 2014 lies behind these impressive numbers.
“This week we’ve been drawing a parallel between ISE and the B2B magazines that support us as media partners,” Blackman commented. “If ISE were a magazine, the exhibitor stands on our show floor would be our advertising. Like a magazine, that’s where we derive the bulk of our revenue, but also like a magazine, we can only grow if we develop editorial content—and that’s been our big focus this year.”
By “editorial content,” Blackman is referring to the supporting conferences, education sessions, networking opportunities, and other “event experience” enhancements that increasingly define large trade shows like ISE. In the case of ISE 2014, there are more of these than ever. The day before the show, Monday, February 3, saw hundreds of delegates attend the Smart Building Conference, Investor Showcase and Audio Forum pre-show events, followed by the Opening Keynote Address, “Kick-Starting the Market for Building Automation,” by Cisco’s Dr. Dirk Schlesinger.
On the show days themselves, the content theme will be picked up in two new show floor theaters, showcasing commercial and residential solutions, respectively, and between them hosting more than 40 free-to-attend, non-technical seminars. The theater sessions fall under ISE’s new “Professional Development” education brand, to which the show’s co-owners, CEDIA and InfoComm International, also contribute significantly with their own training programs.
This year, InfoComm is offering two free education session vouchers to every ISE attendee, while CEDIA is hosting many new courses as well as exclusive market-research presentations. Elsewhere there is a new Sport Facility Integration Summit on Wednesday, February 5; a “Discovery Zone” featuring young companies new to ISE; and the launch of the show’s “M2D” (Manufacturer to Distributor) match-making portal.
“With pre-registration levels indicating that our attendee growth will at least match that of our show floor, we are confident ISE 2014 will be yet another record-breaker,” Blackman concluded. “However, our real achievements are the ways in which we have enhanced our event to make it useful and relevant to new visitor groups, helping to ensure that those who are visiting the show for the first time have a genuine desire to return next year.”