ISE Announces Plans For Its “Post-Pandemic” New Reality In Barcelona (In 228 Days)

June 19, 2020 by Dave Haynes

With the virtual version of InfoComm completed, AVIXA and co-owner CEDIA have immediately pivoted to talking about plans for their other big pro AV trade show, Integrated Systems Europe.

Its organizer, Integrated Systems Events, pushed out PR overnight saying the 2021 show is most definitely on in early February, and that measures are coming together to ensure it is safe.

Says the PR:

The 17th edition of ISE is set to take place at its new home at the Fira de Barcelona, Gran Vía, 2-5 February 2021. The world class exhibition centre plans to reopen for business in September. This will follow the successful completion of a collaboration with risk mitigation consultancy AON and the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona which will determine the specific security criteria for holding B2B events at the venue later this year. 

Over 850 world leading technology and solutions providers have already committed to participate at ISE 2021. Over 55,000 sqm of exhibition floor-space has been confirmed for nine dedicated technology zones. This represents a 5% increase on the total floorspace booked for the 2020 show. 

The state-of-the-art exhibition centre will house a new-look ISE featuring nine dedicated technology zones, in an easy to navigate layout. These are: Audio, Broadcast and Content Creation (new), Digital Signage & DooH, Education, Live Events (new), Residential, Smart Building, Unified Communications and VR/AR/XR.  

A significant development for ISE 2021 is the strategic partnership with The Next Web (TNW), a world-leading technology media brand with extensive reach among global start-ups and technology businesses in general. In conjunction with ISE, TNW will present Growth Quarters – four days of keynotes and presentations addressing all aspects of business growth and scale-up, presented by inspiring technology innovators and experts. TNW will also present Fast Lane, where start-ups create solutions that address specific ‘pain points’ within AV businesses.    

In addition, a five-day solutions-themed series of 14 conferences will cover a wide range of topics including digital signage, design and build, control rooms and XR. The extensive programme has been devised in association with ISE co-owners AVIXA and CEDIA. Both associations will also produce their own dedicated series of training sessions and themed events. 

ISE will also be developing the show’s digital reach to help engage with a bigger audience than ever before. This will include a wide selection of cross-platform live ISE content being made available, along with many other engaging digital opportunities to help attendees connect with the world’s leading technology innovators as well as hear from thought-leaders and experts.

Mike Blackman, Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events, commented: “ISE is committed to delivering an engaging in-person event in Barcelona and is taking all necessary steps to deal with the new post-pandemic reality that will impact those attending exhibitions and conducting international business. 

“The Fira de Barcelona has partnered with AON and the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and other experts  to create a set of safety protocols that are designed to guarantee health and safety around the conditioning of spaces and the regulation of visitor flows. This work started in April and involves risk evaluation, the creation of mitigation strategies and an action plan. Once completed, guidelines for event organisers and exhibitors will be communicated. 

“We are listening and adjusting to ensure the show continues to provide the connections the industry needs to grow brands and business. We are determined and confident that we can deliver a compelling show in a safe and secure environment.”

There are 228 days between now and the day the ribbon would be cut and attendees let into the new venue. A LOT could and will happen between now and then, and who knows what the circumstances will be for large events in Spain.

That country has gone through one of the worst outbreaks globally, and while it has calmed considerably, there are still many cases being revealed in testing. The case count is actually going back up. So it might be a stretch to talk in terms of a post-pandemic reality, though we all certainly hope that’s the

There’s also the practical challenges of getting there. Right now, there is a two-week self-quarantine order in place for international visitors. That is supposed to end July 1, but if circumstances warrant, it could mean anyone contemplating going to ISE would have to get there two weeks ahead and be prepared to sit it out for 14 days.

There’s an interesting note in the PR that appears to be a nod to how the next show will see reduced numbers in physical attendees, but not in interest.

This will include a wide selection of cross-platform live ISE content being made available, along with many other engaging digital opportunities to help attendees connect with the world’s leading technology innovators as well as hear from thought-leaders and experts.

So there will be video-driven panels similar to what was just done via InfoComm Connected. I think those worked quite well – the quality and relevance pinned more to the people on camera than the setting.

You could argue that some people may decide that if they can get conference content virtually, they’ll stay home. But pro AV tech is tech that, in many to most cases, needs to be seen in person. If people can go, they’ll go.

Plus … Barcelona!

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