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My First and Last ISE in Amsterdam

Alesia Hendley at ISE 2020
(Image credit: Alesia Hendley)

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) is the largest pro AV trade show in the world—more touch points of new technology and more people to meet, and I couldn't have been more excited to attend ISE 2020 in Amsterdam last week.

Even with the regional gust storms and the Coronavirus spreading around the globe, ISE managed to attract 52,000 attendees. While I completely understand the large drop in attendance from previous years, I was still slightly disappointed as I wanted to experience the show in its full glory. 

[ISE Attendance Falls Significantly for 2020 Show]

On the bright side, with attendance down, I was able to navigate the show floor a little more freely.  Another plus was being greeted by someone when I entered a stand—I was able to have a real conversation and not be rushed through a topic or product, because, if you know me, you know I love to ask questions. 

When I visited the AVI-SPL stand to demo its immersive workspace in partnership with Igloo Vision, I was greeted by a member of their team immediately, despite a demo currently in progress with other attendees. 

I must have spent about 30-40 minutes in their immersive workspace asking questions about their vision, their partnership, and how these immersive workspaces will be deployed. We even covered the tech specs of the software running the space, and we talked about the specs of the hardware in place that help bring the software to life. This was the most exciting thing I saw on the show floor while at ISE 2020, and the best interaction I had in a booth with two separate companies. 

Alesia Hendley at ISE 2020

My favorite part of ISE 2020 was discovering new technologies and making new connections. (Image credit: Alesia Hendley)

I am glad I changed my perspective when it came to the attendance of the show, because it ultimately created space for me to do what I do best—network and find new technologies that continue to spark excitement for me in this industry. 

Time to Learn at ISE 2020

A large part of my ISE 2020 experience was learning new things, and the Main Stage was a great place to start for that. The Main Stage brought us together to cover some of the industry's most difficult subjects to date—like equal rights for women and becoming a more diverse industry overall. 

The Main Stage was more of a hidden stage in a tent—as opposed to InfoComm's Center Stage which is easily found on the show floor—but, overall, it was a place where open dialog was welcomed and perspectives from all around the world were shared.

ISE isn't InfoComm

As a newbie to the show, I went into ISE expecting it to be InfoComm on steroids—which, in some cases, it was. Overall, though, despite both events catering to the same industry, they are nothing alike outside of showcasing similar technologies. 

At ISE, I was expecting a more vibrant environment and just pure excitement. The ribbon cutting at ISE was not exhilarating. After flying halfway around the world to attend an event, I expected to be greeted with more enthusiasm. 

However, throughout the week, I realized on and off the show floor that it was a culture shift and things are done differently. This is something I didn’t take into consideration ahead of the show and wish I would have thought about it in that way earlier.

Final Thoughts on ISE 2020

Now that I have my first ISE under my belt, I have to go again to be able to compare and contrast my experiences. The 2021 expo will not only take place in a new cultural space, but the physical tradeshow floor should be easier to navigate (fingers crossed) in Barcelona. 

So, if you haven’t been to ISE and plan on attending in the future, here’s my newbie advice: don’t go into the show experience comparing it to Infocomm, and have a strategy in place, even if it completely falls apart once you hit the show floor. It’s better to have some sort of plan than no plan at all. 

To read more ISE 2020 news, visit avnetwork.com/tag/ise