With hundreds of new product launches and attendance numbers on track to break a previous record, it’s safe to say this year’s ISE show will be a memorable one.
Managing director Mike Blackman told attendees during the opening keynote of ISE 2017 he expects the event to not only break its all-time attendance record, but also crack the 70,000 mark after 65,001 people moved through the turnstiles last February.
ISE 2017 has two new halls inside its seemingly permanent home, RAI Amsterdam, and Blackman says that number will be up to 15 for the 2018 edition, meaning more companies than ever will be hawking their AV, IT and related wares to what could be yet another record crowd.
At least half, if not three-quarters, of ISE vendors don’t exhibit at InfoComm in the summer and about half of ISE’s attendees are folks who don’t come to Vegas or Orlando for InfoComm each year.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of room for ISE to continue to grow. According to InfoComm, 70 percent of InfoComm show exhibitors do not exhibit at ISE; about 85 percent of InfoComm attendees do not attend ISE.
ISE’s Impact on Business
With all of those facts, figures and records in the open, it’s no surprise more and more manufacturers say they’ve changed the way they do business to make sure they’re showing off something spectacular every year at ISE.
“We’ve been working on everything new we’re showing here for the last six months to ensure they’re in mass production now and shipping within the next 30 to 60 days,” says Kashyap Khetia, manager of product marketing at KanexPro. “We’re earning traction on the international side and we don’t want to create a lot of hype then have people not know when the thing they want will ship.”
Nureva CEO Nancy Knowlton has moved all of the company’s product announcements and development so they sync up with ISE, InfoComm’s annual summer showcase and Enterprise Connect, she says. She thinks more companies are focusing on ISE for product launches because InfoComm doesn’t have a set location and the shows in Las Vegas tend to attract more people than the ones in Orlando.
Plus, with InfoComm in early to mid-June, it falls in a tougher part of the year than ISE, which is in early February, she says. Nureva works on a three- to four-month release cycle on its software, says Knowlton.
Jennifer Uner, director of communications and events at Oblong, says her company is “always innovating” and they take a different approach than some of their competitors, showing “a first look” at new products during ISE and gathering feedback from clients.
“This show is an opportunity for us to test our functionality in a noisy environment,” she says.
Randall Lee, director of strategic and channel marketing at Revolabs, says nothing has really changed for his company despite the emergence in importance of ISE.
“We’re not geared toward any particular show,” he says. “We always like to release and announce by InfoComm but you can’t announce something too early then have people not be able to get it. We have our own internal release schedule, but it’s a matter of aligning the right schedule, scope and resources.”I joined Tim Albright of AV Nation and Chuck Espinoza of InfoComm International to talk about this and more in an AV Nation ISE day 2 recap:
Because ZeeVee has been “working to become a much more global company,” ISE has taken on added importance, says CEO Bob Michaels. The company recently became a technical partner for the Global Presence Alliance and is a founding member of the SDVoE Alliance.
“The first seven years we were here, we only had RF products, but when we started talking about IP, that’s when we started getting noticed at ISE,” he says. “Last year was a big year of what I call IP lip service, but InfoComm 2016 was a bit of a turning point when everybody said they had some kind of IP solution. We’re in a better position to take that knowledge and utilize it because we’ve been doing it.”
Greg Schwartz of BTX came to ISE for the first time in many years to introduce a foreign language version of the company’s BookIT room scheduling software, which is now available in English, Spanish and French, with other languages to follow.
Still, he says trade shows aren’t the only way to let people know about new products.
“When I first started in the business 25 years ago, the shows were where you put products out,” he says. “Now you can do it whenever it’s ready.”
Karen Smidt of Milestone AV says her company doesn’t let trade shows dictate when it’s time to put out new products.
“We just work on things until they’re ready,” she says, noting the company has taken more interest in developing products that are specifically geared toward the European market with ISE’s increased focus.
Andy Niemann, director of business communication at Sennheiser, says trade shows keep his coworkers focused.
“ISE is one of the milestones every year, and it’s great to have that fixed date to have something ready,” he says. “InfoComm is the second milestone. ISE is becoming a really international show but it all starts with good products.”