Guest Post: Florian Rotberg, Invidis
I must make it clear that ISE 2021 in Barcelona this week was anything but a normal trade fair.
Not only because the protocol required regular COVID-19 tests and ID checks, but because ISE took place inside an exhibition hall. And yet, in many ways, the ISE’s pandemic issue somehow felt so normal.
The greatest success of the fair is that it took place at all: ISE was one of the first post-pandemic fair events in Europe. At the Gran Via exhibition center in Barcelona, ??it was the first exhibition since December 2019.
This live event – in the transition from the pandemic to “life afterwards” – was characterized by lush space, wide aisles and spit shields at every stand. It was a challenge to recognize many well-known industry faces because of the masks. Badges became even more important, especially since the “head of hair” of many has visibly changed during the pandemic.
Even if the number of visitors and exhibitors was only a fraction of a regular ISE, a four-digit number of trade visitors will have found their way to the Barcelona exhibition center. And this in spite of complex entry (PCR test, entry app) and access modalities (quick tests and ID checks).
In particular, there was a lack of industry experts from large corporations, whose business travel requests have been rejected due to strict travel policies. International business trips will not be possible again on a broad front until autumn.
This is also reflected in the visitor structure at ISE. The summer edition 2021 is primarily an Iberian event, with a European touch. The top-class Spanish-language conference program attracted digital signage providers and customers alike.
All participants and exhibitors share the joy of having regained a bit of normality. Networking, talking shop and just being among people who have been tested, vaccinated and recovered. ISE 2021 brought a bit of normalcy back to everyday working life.
PS … For all those who did not make it to Barcelona, we recommend the upcoming DSS Europe 2021. On September 29-30 at the Hilton Munich Airport, it will be a normal live, in color show, with lots of people. We’re looking forward to that!