COVID-19 Update

ISE 2021 Postponed Amid Ongoing Coronavirus Concerns

Integrated Systems Europe show was supposed to make its debut in Barcelona, Spain, in February 2021 after 12 years in Amsterdam.

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ISE 2021 Postponed Amid Ongoing Coronavirus Concerns

You’ll have to wait a little bit longer for Integrated Systems Europe to make its Barcelona, Spain, debut. ISE 2021, slated for Feb. 2-5 at the Fira de Barcelona, has been postponed amidst a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across Europe.

No new dates have been announced for ISE 2021, but an AVIXA spokesperson confirmed the decision to postpone the world’s largest pro AV show this afternoon.

The ISE 2021 postponement comes less than a week after Integrated Systems Europe managing director Mike Blackman said he was concerned about the increase in COVID-19 cases across Europe in the last week or so, while noting exhibitors had expressed a desire to keep the show on as scheduled.

A risk assessment by ISE staffers and their health consultants in July using World Health Organization protocols show the COVID-19 risk as “low,” but a recent increase in COVID-19 cases across Europe clearly changed the plans for ISE 2021.

“Obviously, we are concerned [about the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak across Europe] and observing the situation very carefully,” Blackman wrote in an email to Commercial Integrator last week.


Inside ISE 2021 Postponement

ISE organizers are adding a virtual element to the 2021 show, but Blackman has said for months he is confident the event can move forward with an in-person component, noting show staffers have worked closely with Fira officials and local health agencies to ensure the venue will be safe for attendees.

“ISE 2021 will be a hybrid event and we are currently developing our plans for the digital part of the event,” Blackman said in an email to CI in early July.

Related: ISE 2021 Adding Virtual Component

Elements of the ISE 2021 digital platform “will certainly give not only attendees but also exhibitors the opportunity to virtually interact with each other as well as with the live and virtual content being presented,” he said at the time.

The 2020 edition of ISE, the last one in Amsterdam, attracted about 52,000 people to the RAI, well below the 2019 attendance record of 82,000 people. Increasing concerns about the coronavirus and a massive snowstorm sweeping across Europe kept the attendance lower than it had been in years.

Blackman had said the in-person component of ISE 2021 would move forward even if attendees from North America couldn’t be in Barcelona. They make up about 5 percent of the overall annual ISE attendance, although that number has been increasing in recent years.