Advice for ISE Newbies

ISE attendees networking
(Image credit: Integrated Systems Europe)

Attending tradeshows for the first time can be intimidating—but attending the world’s largest commercial AV show can be straight-up nerve-wracking. That’s why we’ve asked ISE show veterans to share advice for first-time ISE attendees.

Kev Talbot, Director of Technical Services, Involve Visual Collaboration

Don’t expect to see everything—you could end up seeing nothing. Plan as much as possible and be sure you have an idea of where vendors are so as not to book back-to-back meetings at booths nowhere near each other. Wear comfortable shoes, take full advantage of water and coffee on booths, and wrap up outside.

Sarah Joyce, Chief Global Officer, AVIXA

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the size of the show and limitless ways to traverse your week. Make a practical list of must-sees and must-dos—products and solutions, a few education sessions, and don’t forget to sprinkle in some fun social gatherings. It’s many times the best way to make memorable connections with people.

Make sure to enjoy the city, too. Amsterdam is a beautiful place, the public transport is excellent, and it is safe to get around. There are many fantastic things to see and do, so after a day at the show, make the most of the opportunity!

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, CEO, IAS Technology

The best advice I can give any newbie—besides wearing comfortable shoes—is to be strategic and have a plan. With the combination of residential and commercial exhibitors, and the overall size of the show, it is important to know what you are looking for. Remember to save some time in your schedule to explore, especially the smaller, niche booths, as you never know what new technology you may find.

Gina Sansivero, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications, AtlasIED

Figure out your must-sees and map your route in advance of the show. As a result of construction and expansion, the RAI convention center hall numbering scheme is not intuitive and not always consecutive. When you plan ahead, you’ll discover efficient paths to make the most of your week at ISE. It’ll save you time and precious steps. (You’ll still get in plenty, trust me!)

Jeff Day, Founder, North of 10 Advisors

To maximize my experience, I like to learn from the pros! I make sure to schedule the keynotes, topical main stage events, and education FlashTracks. You also want to check out a topical market summit event focused individually on the smart building, XR, digital signage, or hospitality and visitor attraction markets! I will be leading a panel on this year’s ISE main stage about brand experience, and another panel at the Smart Building Summit. I’m also teaching an education FlashTrack on the impact and trends of AV on wellness.

Matt D. Scott, President, OMEGA Audio Video

My key to ISE is to wander. Yeah, you heard that right. Wander! ISE is a wonderful mishmash of booths and halls. Don’t be afraid to get lost and wander in and out of halls and discover the next big thing that will help your business succeed! To help with all that wandering, make sure you’ve got comfortable shoes.

Alison Maxson, Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications, ScreenBeam

With its many exhibitors, halls, and corridors, the RAI convention center can get overwhelming. The best release of frustration is found outside among Amsterdam’s museums, like the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. We live and breathe the world of technology, so it’s a good mental break to get away and be inspired by history and art.

Cory Schaeffer, Director, Strategic Industry Relations, QSC

The exhibit hall numbers may not make sense to you. Review the map prior to scheduling appointments—your feet will thank you. Do not worry about your coffee fix because nearly every exhibitor’s stand will free have coffee for you. Lastly, they are not walking paths … they are bike paths, and the bike has the right away. Stay out of their way!

Steve Greenblatt, President, Control Concepts

Be sure to have a map handy when scheduling your day and navigating the halls, and plan on tackling one section of the show floor at a time. Also, have a plan for evening events. Unlike InfoComm, where you can follow the masses and find your tribe, the crowd and events for ISE are far more spread out.

To read more ISE 2020 stories, visit

Katie Makal is the content manager for Systems Contractor News.