Editorial: 5 Takeaways from ISE 2023

ISE 2023 Show Floor
ISE 2023 exceeded expectations with its opening day attendance. (Image credit: Mark J. Pescatore)

ISE 2023 is in the books—and based on my three days working the show floor in Barcelona, it seemed to be a massive success for the Integrated Systems Events folks, as well as exhibitors and attendees. Here are a handful of observations from the show, which was a joint venture between AVIXA and CEDIA.

1) It's crowded in here.

Michael Blackman, ISE

Michael Blackman (Image credit: Cindy Davis)

Last year, the big news coming out of trade shows was, well, there were trade shows again. Whether it was ISE, NAB, or InfoComm (which had a smaller-than-usual show in late 2021), it was a celebration of being together and exploring the latest technologies outside of a Brady Bunch display configuration. Even sore feet were (almost) overlooked—after all, the industry was back to business as usual!

But that theme is so 2022.

[Reporting from the ISE 2023 Twitterverse]

At ISE 2023, it was all about exceeding expectations. According to Michael Blackman, managing director of ISE, this year's show had more than 1,055 exhibitors. They did not break the record set in 2019, but it was an impressive jump from last year's return. He also said Jan. 31 set the record for the most opening day visitors in the show's history. These stats bode well for attendance at InfoComm 2023 and other industry events.

2) Partnerships are in style.

Biamp Partners at ISE 2023

Like many other companies on the show floor, Biamp was proud to call out its partners. (Image credit: Mark J. Pescatore)

There has been a gradual yet significant culture change in the Pro AV industry. In the not-too-distant past, partnerships between manufacturers were few and far between. At ISE 2023, companies proudly displayed their partners in their booths.

[Winners Announced: Best of Show at Integrated Systems Europe 2023 for AV Technology]

Why the change? Joe Andrulis, executive vice president of corporate development for Biamp, explained that these partnerships have developed because customers want to buy solutions, not individual products—so the choice is to partner or lose business. "Companies are finally acting on that," he added. "Not everybody's got everything. There's more [business] to win by working together."

3) Meeting equity is a real challenge.

The rise of full-time and part-time remote workers is undeniable and likely permanent for many organizations, which means videoconferencing will continue to gain importance in the corporate world. The Pro AV industry, as a result, is becoming understandably obsessed with delivering solutions that promote meeting equity for in-person and remote meeting participants. Microsoft Teams demonstrations were in full force on the ISE 2023 show floor, and companies like Jabra and DTEN touted new products specifically designed to address the challenges of the hybrid workforce. I hope you like videobars, speakerphones, ceiling microphones, 21:9 displays, and the acronym BYOD, because they are going to be front and center for a long time.

4) Pro AV is paying more than lip service to sustainability.

SAVe at ISE 2023

SAVe had a reception during ISE to promote its sustainability efforts. (Image credit: Mark J. Pescatore)

It's easy to say you have sustainable business practices. However, many Pro AV companies are truly embracing sustainability—and they loudly and proudly shared their efforts on the ISE 2023 show floor. Samsung was arguably the most noticeable, with a large corner of its booth dedicated to telling its story. SAVe, a relatively new organization dedicated to sustainability in the Pro AV space, also had a presence at the show. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue.

5) Best badge system ever.

ISE 2023

The new badge retrieval system was ingenious, leading to significantly more efficient entry to the show for pre-registered attendees. (Image credit: Mark J. Pescatore)

Finally, if you preregistered for ISE 2023 and downloaded the show app as directed, badge retrieval was a breeze. When you walked through the entry portal (which had plenty of queues), the first worker scanned your digital voucher and the second worker, stationed at a printer directly behind the first worker, handed you your badge and lanyard. The only things that could have made the experience more pleasant were a lollipop and a pat on the head. ISE, I beseech you, never change this system—and send somebody to figure out how to make it work for industry conventions in Las Vegas and Orlando.

Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore (Image credit: Future)

By the way, a part of my ISE adventures was a video interview with ISE's Michael Blackman, courtesy of the fine folks at Epiphan Video, who provided studio time for SCN and AV Technology on the show floor. Check out the interview here.

Mark J. Pescatore
Content Director

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 25 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television.