ISE Relocation to Barcelona Means Growth Opportunities for Everyone

Published: July 19, 2018

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) has grown from a fledgling operation in 2004 with 120 exhibitors and 3,500 attendees in Geneva, Switzerland, to a must-see annual event that saw about 1,200 exhibitors and 82,000 attendees in February in Amsterdam. [related]

Now, as the show has outgrown its Netherlands home, it’s moving in 2021 to Barcelona, Spain, to a space that will accommodate the massive growth and popularity of the event — the place where many top manufacturers make their major product announcements.

Integrated Systems Events managing director Mike Blackman compared the show’s move to a family that relocates after it outgrows the space of its starter home, including converting the attic and the basement into living space.

“The show is outgrowing its home,” says Blackman in a press conference to officially announce the move to the Gran Via, part of the Fira de Barcelona exhibition complex, in 2021.

ISE attendance has grown more than 10 percent in recent years and the AV industry is forecast to grow 5 percent annually through 2021, says Blackman. “ISE is moving to a bigger house with a bigger yard.

“The next two years will have some challenges. We have run out of space,” he says.

ISE Relocation Important for Everyone

AVIXA executive director David Labuskes says he believes ISE “can change the way people experience the world.” CEDIA global president and CEO Tabatha O’Connor calls the move to Barcelona “the perfect choice for an event and an industry that engenders creativity.”

Labuskes says there was never any thought of changing the event’s name as part of the ISE relocation.

“This has always been conceived of as a European show. It’s grown into a global event,” he says.

Labuskes joked about his association’s September brand change from InfoComm International to the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, saying “one name change a year is good.”

The ISE relocation will allow the show to accommodate those on its waiting list as well as give existing exhibitors the luxury of building larger stands.

“We need to be able to ensure the show day experience is comfortable,” says Blackman. “We can now satisfy the demand in sectors where we haven’t had space and refocus the show so attendees can plan their visits more effectively.

“We want to ensure we continue to provide the place to do business in AV,” he says. Blackman wonders if ISE’s move will mean more attendees will stay for the show’s last day or plan to spend that last day at the show and build in a weekend stay in the city.

In the last two years, ISE has seen 12,000 and 18,000 people come to the show on the last day, he says, although he knows the last day of any show is always the lightest in terms of attendance.

Why ISE Chose Barcelona

Barcelona emerged as the unanimous choice for ISE’s new home after 12 to 18 months of research and feedback from exhibitors and attendees, says Blackman. He calls the city “a hub of innovation and technological development.”

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau vows to work with ISE officials to “make the show bigger and better than ever,” adding the city has “unique assets to help ISE flourish and thrive.” The ISE relocation to Barcelona is “a clear indication we are very well-positioned internationally. I’m sure this is the beginning of a new friendship.”

Constanti Serrallonga, CEO of the Fira de Barcelona, says he’s been admiring ISE’s growth from afar for years in the hopes the show would eventually come to Barcelona.

“This is a clear example of teamwork between organizations and a willingness to work toward economic development and excellence,” he says. “Together, we will build new growth and innovation. Blackman expects ISE will have an annual economic impact of about $400 million on Barcelona, from hotels to cabs to restaurants and more.

“We will bring and leave a lot of money here,” he says.

And, while ISE will undoubtedly continue to set attendance records as part of its move to Barcelona, “we are not trying to be everything to everybody,” says Blackman. “We are not trying to grow for the sake of growing.”

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