Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. We spoke to Dan Goldstein, ISE Director of Marketing and Communications, to find out what it takes to put on one of the biggest and increasingly successful shows in the AV industry.
It seems a long time since the ISE exhibition had its humble start in 2004 in Geneva. The event is a joint venture of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) and InfoComm International.

Mike Blackman, Managing Director of ISE explained that the show was born from a call from one of his former bosses, exhibition organiser Cherif Moujabber, who was consulting for InfoComm. “He explained the concept and the associations behind it (InfoComm, CEDIA and NSCA), and after a bit of research, the whole idea excited me. I’m a technology fan so this was subject matter that really interested me.’
Overall the show has grown year after year. In 2009 it boasted 536 exhibitors from 41 countries and 24 912 attendees. This was despite being the same year the show saw notable pull-outs from the likes of Sony and Barco. This year, Extron, who had exhibited since the beginning, decided not to participate at ISE or Infocomm in the USA. Still the show, which has found its home in Amsterdam and will remain there until 2019, has faithful exhibitors that return year after year.

But to achieve its 900 exhibitors and 44 000 plus visitors, its marketing department has to work creatively – and hard – always pushing the bar to exceed the previous year’s results. The organisers aren’t just selling square metres at the RAI conference centre. Their product is more intangible. It’s about selling the opportunity to do business and make money.

On Monday 28 January, ISE celebrated its 10th edition with the special keynote address by cyber-illusionist Marco Tempest, followed by its birthday party.
For many of us that have visited the show year after year, the time seems to pass faster each time, and one is left with the feeling that there was quite a bit that we didn’t get to see, a few conferences that could not fit in the diary and some appointments we couldn’t keep. Should we have one more day, I asked Goldstein.

“We are not thinking about extending the show one more day.’ Goldstein said, “This year we had 208 new exhibitors. Some of them are small start-ups and extending the show will mean more expenditure. You can’t compromise the show. We also draw experience from other shows such as CEDIA in the USA. They too thought adding a day to their three days show would be a good idea. On a three-day event you will have two strong and very busy days and one that is quieter. What CEDIA found on extending its show was that they ended up with two quiet days.’

This year ISE tickled its visitor’s brains with new conferences, such as Megapixel and Smart Buildings, both very well attended.
The profile of the show, points out Goldstein, is changing to differentiate itself from Infocomm. “The tendency is to have more application driven exhibits; less engineering and more solutions,’ he says.

The whole set up of the show is aimed at showing visitors what can be done in an event of this calibre. From the LED and projection screens to the path finding touch screen displays that welcome visitors, it is all designed to provide a best in class experience.

On the wish list for next year Goldstein has a more accessible smart phone app, better digital signage to make people aware of all that is available and the extension of the show’s reach into emerging communities that work closely with the AV industry.