Integrated Systems Europe 2009

Defying both the challenging economic climate and freak weather conditions on the eve of the show, ISE 2009 smashed all records to become the most successful B2B event ever staged for Europe’s professional AV and electronic systems integration industry.

Defying both the challenging economic climate and freak weather conditions on the eve of the show, ISE 2009 smashed all records to become the most successful B2B event ever staged for Europe’s professional AV and electronic systems integration industry.

From 3–5 February some 24,912 attendees were drawn to this year’s show – a 12% increase on the previous record, set in 2008. A total of 564 exhibitors (up 16% on last year’s 484) occupied 22,000 square metres of net floor space, an 18.5% rise. Both these figures were also a record for ISE. Gross space occupied by the show was 48,500 square metres, up from 38,500 last year.

Reflecting on three intense days of business activity, education, new product introductions and networking opportunities, Mike Blackman, Managing Director, Integrated Systems Events, says: “We are delighted that so many people came to Amsterdam to experience this year’s ISE. It is always satisfying when an event continues to grow, but to have continued on our upward trajectory against a relatively unpromising economic backdrop is especially pleasing.”

Partnering with exhibitors

While ISE’s two supporting trade associations, InfoComm International® and CEDIA, invested record amounts of time and money into the marketing effort for this year’s show, Blackman is keen to emphasise the role played by exhibitors themselves in making ISE 2009 such a huge hit. “The best advocates for our show are our exhibitors,” he says. “We have worked closely with them throughout the year, pursuing a range of initiatives to drive our attendance higher so that they get real value for the resource they allocate to ISE. It is gratifying to see all this hard work paying off in such spectacular fashion.”

Blackman also paid tribute to the many hundreds of attendees who had to alter their travel plans at short notice, after heavy snow caused many airports to close the day before the show, particularly in south-east England and northern Italy – two key areas for the professional AV community. “By using a mixture of trains, planes and automobiles, almost all our pre-registered visitors made it to Amsterdam – eventually! The fact that they made such an effort speaks volumes about the lure of ISE and the individual persistence of the people who make it a success.”

Rapturous attendee reaction

Exhibitors, visitors and media alike have been united in singing the praises of ISE 2009. Sandra Semple, senior public relations specialist at SMART Technologies, comments: “This is the ideal show to meet European distributors and dealers. We also held a press conference which had a fantastic attendance – indeed, it was standing-room only. Everyone who came to our booth had a purpose in mind and we are very pleased with the results.”

Niko’s Steven Calder concurs: “ISE is a truly international show with visitors who are knowledgeable, interesting to talk to, and interested in what we have to offer. We will definitely be back, and we will be bigger, better, and wiser. February 2010 cannot come soon enough!”

ISE’s Digital Signage Zone, a new attraction that gave smaller companies a compact, accessible forum in which to display their solutions, proved particularly popular. Mark Leo, business development consultant at Net Display Systems, comments: “The concept of the Zone worked incredibly well, bringing us a substantial increase in the quality of enquiries and the number of partner visits. All in all, ISE 2009 was the best show I have participated in for many years.”

And Adrian Cotterill, editor of the influential digital advertising web portal DailyDOOH, adds: “ISE has set the bar high for others to follow and managed to pull off a Digital Signage Zone that actually works. ‘Outstanding’ does not even begin to describe how good the event was.”

Growth from many areas

The Digital Signage Zone, coupled with the ISE DOOH Business Conference which was held on 2–3 February and co-located with the show, helped to attract substantially more members of the advertising and creative content communities than ISE 2008. Other market sectors to show growth were the live-events industry, architects, and project managers.

Geographically, the big gainers were France, Germany and Italy – with attendance rising by 20%, 30%, and 50% respectively. Central and East European markets also contributed significantly to ISE’s growth, with Polish, Czech and Slovak attendance all rising markedly.

“The international nature of ISE is a theme that comes across time and again when we talk to attendees,” Blackman reflects. “No comparable event in Europe attracts visitors from such a diverse range of geographic and demographic backgrounds.”

Eyes on the future

Looking ahead to 2010, Blackman believes ISE will continue to thrive because the business communities it serves are well-placed to meet global economic challenges. “Our resilience reflects the resilience of our industry,” he says. “Professional AV and systems integration is a robust business which, through rapid advances in technology, is helping its customers to become more efficient, reduce costs and maximise revenue.”

Over 70% of the exhibit space for ISE 2010 had already been reserved before this year’s show had closed its doors – reflecting the overwhelmingly positive mood of the event. At the same time, Blackman stresses: “We are not complacent. We know that we will have to redouble our promotional activities in order to maintain our growth in 2010, and we are already working with our Advisory Board to develop a range of new attractions that will make next year’s ISE a better place to do business than ever.”

The next Integrated Systems Europe will be held from 2–4 February 2010 at the Amsterdam RAI.

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