With 78 Days Until ISE (We Hope), Time To Look At How Access Will Work
February 21, 2022 by Dave Haynes
I spent a couple of free hours this weekend shovelling my office – neat freak is not a description that ever gets attached to me – doing things like shredding no end of print-outs for airline and hotel/VRBO bookings that got shelved as this pandemic wore on.
Now I find myself once again doing planes and hotels planning for a trade show that I may or may not go to – in this case Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) in mid-May. It’s still numerous weeks away, so who knows where we’ll be at with COVID variants by then, but it is time to start thinking about it and looking into what’s needed. It came up this morning because another very large trade show is set for Barcelona – which will host ISE – in a few days. Mobile World Congress is a (normally) huge show aimed at the mobile business that opens next Monday at the same venue.
What’s interesting to me are the health safety requirements for the show, and the efforts by organizers to smooth things out for attendees. For MWC, attendees have to load the event app and then populate that with proof of vaccination, recovery or recent test. It has a biometrics component as well that offers fast-lane entry using facial recognition tied to that app. And the show is super-strict about masks – even stipulating the kinds of masks that are OK.
Acceptable face masks are classified as follows*:
- Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFP2) masks, without a valve, satisfying European Standard EN 149:2001 and bearing the CE mark.
- Surgical masks and cloth face masks are not acceptable for this Event.
- If unable to wear a face mask for valid medical reasons, you may be required to present a certified doctor’s note at any time.
The FFP2 standard equates to an N94 or N95 mask.
Another interesting wrinkle is how MWC’s organizers have worked with the venue to provide health insurance to attendees to ease worries about contracting COVID during their business trip and then being unable to travel, and possibly ill.
The contingency health insurance applies to the entire duration of the event, including official build-up and dismantle days.
The coverage includes:
- Extension of your stay in a hotel due to COVID-19 diagnosis with the obligation to quarantine, up to the limit of €150 per day, for a maximum of 15 days
- Medical Transport to your country of origin, including return for prolonging the stay in a hotel due to diagnosis of COVID-19 with the obligation to quarantine.
- Medical expenses and hospital stay, including stay in the ICU, due to COVID-19, up to the limit of €100,000
MWC attendees can call +34 901 123 456 for Quirónsalud hospitality service anytime if they feel unwell. Direct access to 24/7 service, helpline offers over-the-phone support in 10 languages. A doctor will assess you and, if necessary, your requirements will be then be taken care of by Quirónsalud as above.
ISE is still 78 days out, so the show’s organizers are understandably not as detailed about requirements and offers. Given that it is the venue doing the contingency insurance thing, I suppose it’s possible that could be extended to ISE, but again, who knows what’s necessary by then.
What the show does says is that it will also be using a smartphone app as the main tool for access and validation. Attendees will need either:
- Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 – this will grant you access to all four days of the show;
- Proof of recovery from COVID-19 – this will grant you access to all four days of the show;
- Or … proof of a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test – this will grant you access to the show for two days (the day of the test and the day after). Once this has expired, a new proof of a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test must be uploaded.
In terms of tests, ISE says there will be no testing capabilities at the venue but has ensured that all hotels booked via bnetwork will offer the following Covid testing options, on request:
- Booking an appointment at a nearby testing facility centre
- Booking an appointment for test laboratory staff to come to the hotel to carry out a test
There are four labs close to the event venue.
Face masks must be worn at the venue, including outside (which seems a bit much and will be a bear to enforce), but ISE does not get into stipulating – unlike MWC – what kinds of masks are acceptable. I have memories of taking a big gulp of air as I would run a gauntlet of smokers huddling outside ISE’s doors in Amsterdam, and those folks will not be full-time masked doing that!
I am certainly hoping to get to Barcelona, somehow or other. There were numerous flight options – including non-stops to Heathrow – when I moved to the east coast. Now … getting just about anywhere other than Toronto is complicated.
Also … plans have been revived for a mixer in Barcelona. Reach out if you are interested in sponsoring.