Integrated Systems Europe (ISE)—widely recognized as the world’s largest gathering of AV professionals—is moving from Amsterdam to Barcelona in 2021. The potential move was the talk of this year’s show as temporary structures had to be erected to simply accommodate the current number of exhibitors and visitors.
The 2018 show attracted close to 81,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors; with an average growth of 10 percent per year, it’s clear the show needed to make a move.
“Demand from exhibitors and the continued increase in the numbers of attendees showed us that limited floor space was in danger of putting a brake on the show’s development,” said Mike Blackman managing director, Integrated Systems Events. “In spite of all our best efforts this was not an issue we felt could be solved by staying at the RAI Amsterdam.”
After 18 months of research, the decision was made to make the Gran Via, part of the Fira de Barcelona exhibition complex, the new permanent home for ISE. “Not only is the new venue a state of the art home for our show but the city of Barcelona is one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting,” added Tabatha O’Connor, CEDIA global president and CEO. “It’s the perfect choice for an exhibition and growing industry that engenders creativity and commerce.”
Those are the official statements, but what do people in the industry really think about the move? We asked a variety of #AVTweeps about ISE Barcelona and here’s what they had to say:
Barcelona offers unique assets to both exhibitors and attendees. As a leading city in the field of technology, innovation, and design, with a rich ecosystem of more than 1.250 startups, it’s a perfect fit for ISE and the growing audiovisual industry to keep enhancing the experience for attendees. Having a much larger venue could make it even easier to engage with other industries as the lines separating them become blurrier, creating a sweet spot for open innovation. Barcelona itself provides the ideal atmosphere for such a compelling event: Mediterranean gastronomy, good weather, and excellent mobility options within the city. Amsterdam RAI has been a great location for ISE and the biggest challenge in Barcelona will be to keep developing the show to achieve continued success. We certainly will miss waffles as much as hanging around through the channels at midnight.
—Marc Torné, Sales Director, Ditec Communications
Anyone who has experienced the rapid growth of ISE, particularly over the past few years, will have seen how popular it has become. Although this growth has been great for the industry, it has meant navigation of the show can be tricky—particularly at pinch points between halls. The move to Barcelona from the RAI in 2021 should allow for a more comfortable experience for visitors and exhibitors alike. Plus, of course, we hope for a milder climate as we move further south! Datapath have always enjoyed a fantastic response to our ISE presence and we look forward to even bigger and better things in Barcelona.
—Kay Mumford, Marketing Communications Manager, Datapath
Change can be difficult and unpredictable. The lack of familiarity for us will present the biggest challenges with the move from Amsterdam, but at the same time, we are looking forward to becoming familiar with Barcelona. The RAI in Amsterdam was becoming too small to continue to host ISE, and it was difficult to navigate the show because of the various exhibition halls. Because the RAI was at capacity, it contributed to cost increases for exhibit space that was making the show much more costly for the exhibitors. Having a larger exhibit space will encourage new exhibitors to attend, and it should help to keep the exhibit space affordable. Of course, the warmer weather in Spain will also be nice.
—Kevin Main, President, Torus Power
Having a larger space to accommodate the growth of an amazing show! Plus, our luggage will be lighter since we don’t have to pack as many cold-weather clothes. There won’t be as many direct flights for our U.S.-based colleagues, but we know they’ll be happy to put up with the flight time to get to Barcelona!
—Matthew Packer, Sales Development Director, Asia Pacific, Biamp
. The challenge is knowing whether the customers and the exhibitors will accept the new location and attend—especially not knowing the full cost of travel to Barcelona yet.
—Jochen Roggenkämper, Owner, Datavision, Datavision Deutschland GmbH
Amsterdam was a great location and helped QSC reach out to our most important clients in the EMEA region, which in turn aided in our growth in that region. As QSC continues to focus on the EMEA region and the industry diversifies with more and more IT and end users visiting ISE, the move to Barcelona provides the additional space we need to showcase even more holistic offerings to these new customers as well as our channel partners. We are very excited about ISE’s decisions to relocate and look forward to the opportunities to connect with new customers.
—Joe Pham, CEO and President, QSC
As an exhibitor and an attendee, AVI-SPL is excited for the move to Barcelona. With the continued growth and success of ISE, as well as our industry demands, the venue change to the more spacious Fira de Barcelona will help support strong engagements and ensure we can continue to create memorable event experiences for our customers, partners, and suppliers. For the first few years, more pre-event preparation and logistics planning will be required—we will just need to navigate the newness of the event changing locations to Barcelona.
—Dale Bottcher, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, AVI-SPL
There is always a lot of excitement surrounding a move to a new tradeshow venue. Having a larger space will definitely help accommodate the continued growth of ISE, making it easier for manufacturers and attendees to get the most out of their experience. While a new move is always exciting, there is always a little trepidation as well. How much of the lure of ISE is due to the central Amsterdam location and will the 80k+ attendees make the same trip to Spain? From a manufacturer point of view, your investment and ROI is driven by traffic at the show so knowing what to expect at the RAI is comforting and makes it easier to prepare for the show. However, a new venue could bring increased attendance and new opportunities.
—Lauren Simmen, Marketing Manager AMETEK Electronic Systems Protection
Barcelona sounds exciting, especially for people like me who come from warmer parts of the world. It will be a great business atmosphere, with opportunities to meet casually outdoors without having to dress up in layers. I expect a lot more customers to join us due to very favorable weather. I understand that Fira Barcelona has more modern facilities, which will provide equal benefits for both exhibitors and visitors.
—Girish Narayanan, Managing Director, Granteq
The facilities in Barcelona have the scale to house an expanding ISE for the foreseeable future. Ensuring that the physical space is up to the demands from the market is a strong strategic move that will serve end users, manufacturers, and developers well. The ambiance of Amsterdam, even in winter, is hard to leave behind, but I am looking forward to learning more about Barcelona and all that it has to offer as host city to ISE.
—Nancy Knowlton, CEO, Nureva
As a company passionate about design, we're looking forward to immersing ourselves in Barcelona's rich history of art and architecture and their incredible culture. While we loved our time in Amsterdam, we're excited for a change of scenery and to have new places to be inspired by. We do a lot of work in Spain and have great partners there and we think the move has the potential to bring a new audience and new opportunities to the show.
—Noah Kaplan, Founder and President, Leon Speakers
I think the best part about the move is the reorganization of the show floor, eliminating much of the chaos of the RAI. ISE may organize the halls logically by general categories, making it much easier for show-goers to navigate the show floor and discover suppliers and solutions that may have been hard to find in the past. Many exhibitors cover multiple categories, so the challenge for ISE is quite significant, but I do expect tremendous improvements.
—Mitchell Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance
After many years as an exhibitor at ISE in Amsterdam, we are sad to say goodbye to a great venue and city. Moving to a new venue and city in 2021 we expect will take some getting used to as far as determining the best place to exhibit on the show floor, working with a new on-site crew and getting to know the city of Barcelona. However, these are not major challenges to overcome—to new beginnings!
—Loren Shaw, Vice President of Marketing, InFocus
Amsterdam has been a great ISE venue for many years, but home technology has been taking off quickly in the European markets and the industry has clearly outgrown the space. We’re excited for the show’s move for greater space, new venues for our annual dealer party and awards, and hopefully even to welcome new attendees. Especially because we can showcase our residential as well as some of our commercial offerings at the show, we anticipate having more ways to do so in Barcelona in the future.
—Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Control4
The new Mediterranean destination with warmer climate is a plus. But more importantly, the larger convention center, Fira de Barcelona, will allow for future growth, more attendees, and easier navigation of the show floor. As a founding member of ISE, we are excited for the move to Barcelona and support the continued growth and success of ISE.
—Vijita U.G., Marketing Manager, Stewart Filmscreen
While Amsterdam has always served as a fantastic venue to host ISE, it is great to see that they are accommodating the continued growth of our industry—not to mention in yet another beautiful city. From our standpoint, the move can only serve as a positive because it will make more room for more attendees and exhibitors and continue to foster international growth for exhibitors. It's a win-win for all.
—Josh Carlson, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, D-Tools