Back at a snowy world HQ after returning last night from Amsterdam, on the heels of a stupid-busy week in that city at Integrated Systems Europe.
There’s no sign of a formal press release so far, but show director Mike Blackman was telling people on Friday that the show attendance surpassed 80,000. That’s up about 6,000 people from just a year earlier, and 15,000 from 2016.
It was evident from Day One the number would hit that, and my own unscientific take was that Day 2 was even busier than opening day. The show added a temporary hall on the front lot, with dozens more booths in there, and some vendors – like the Dutch CMS NDS – even took out space in a new ski hut-style restaurant on the event center’s grounds.
Rather than try to cap things, I heard Blackman suggest the people at the RAI are working with them to create even more space for 2019 – presumably temporary, as well.
The big temporary tent out front robbed the show of a main entrance area and taxi queue, forcing people down to one corner of the sprawling complex to get in waiting lines for rides that went on for what looked like a couple of 100 metres at closing time. Traffic in the area was also pretty nutty and the best thing to do was sneak up from the side and walk the last 2-3 blocks.
Fortunately, things should get better for next year, as a new subway line will open that runs from the north of the city, through the central district, and squirts out people right at the main RAI entrance. That will take a lot of pressure off the transport system.
My continuing thoughts on this show – it is far more international than InfoComm and DSE, and particularly efficient for seeing new product from Europe and China (particularly LED). It is also a mechanism to develop business ties in Europe and the Middle East.
I’ll definitely be back, and I get a sense more and more North Americans are coming over. I chatted with numerous industry friends who were over for the first time, and blown away by the scale.