This post was updated on 9/16/20 to include updated information about the new ISE 2021 date, as well as our exclusive, in-depth interview with AVIXA’s Joé Lloyd, Senior Director, Communications, about how ISE 2021 moving from February to June will or will not affect InfoComm 2021, which is scheduled for June 2021. Click here to jump to the interview.
Due to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Integrated Systems Events announced that ISE 2021, originally scheduled from February 2 to 5, has been postponed and will now take place June 1 to 4 at the Fira Gran Via, Barcelona.
Additionally, ISE will launch RISE Digital, a regular program of content and networking events that will run throughout the year and support the live show.
“We’ve been monitoring the conditions in Europe since the beginning of this year and have worked hard on your behalf to balance health and safety concerns with the need for commerce and F2F interaction,” Integrated Systems Events said in a statement. “These two factors have had shifting weight throughout the calendar year, and although we’ve felt confident and hopeful regarding delivering this show in February, we’ve come to the conclusion that the best option for all of us is to delay the show edition until June 2021.”
“The health and safety of our team, exhibiting companies, industry partners and attendees is our number one priority,” Mike Blackman, Managing Director, Integrated Systems Events, said. “Given the understandable concerns among all of our stakeholders regarding coronavirus, and the uncertainty regarding travel restrictions and country lockdowns, we have concluded it is not prudent to maintain our original schedule of an in-person February 2021 trade show.”
“From our many conversations, it is clear the industry can’t wait to get back together doing business face to face and we are committed to delivering an engaging and safe in-person ISE in 2021,” Blackman added. “We feel by moving the event to June, it provides time for the industry to adapt and restore balance. We look forward to hosting the global AV community in our new home in Barcelona.”
AVIXA’s Joé Lloyd, Senior Director, Communications, on how ISE 2021 being moved to June will affect InfoComm 2021. (Interview added 9/16/20.)
Sound & Communications conducted an exclusive, in-depth interview with AVIXA’s Joé Lloyd, Senior Director, Communications, to discuss ISE 2021 having been moved from February to June. Lloyd also explains the extent to which the change will or will not affect InfoComm 2021, scheduled for Orlando FL that same month.
Sound & Communications: What prompted the decision to move ISE 2021 to June?
Joé Lloyd: The safety and well-being of all those involved in ISE. It even goes beyond the attendees, exhibitors and staff—think about all the people that benefit in terms of taxicabs, restaurants and hotels. What does it mean to bring tens of thousands of people to a singular location? It became apparent that this was not, from a health perspective, feasible at this point. Our decision making took into account travel restrictions, the current status in Spain and truly keeping the health and safety of all those involved in ISE as the priority.
Sound & Communications: How, if at all, will this change affect InfoComm 2021 and its dates?
Lloyd: It will not. ISE moving its dates does not have an impact on InfoComm moving its dates. Now, we have to put an asterisk with that when we talk about 2020, 2021 and the pandemic. It would be lovely if we had a crystal ball that would tell us the future about what’s to come. [Laughs.] I think about a show that’s 10 months away and say, “Goodness, that’s a lifetime from now.” And then I think about what was happening 10 months ago, “COVID-19” was barely a word in our lexicon. It was not something we were actively thinking about. We have amazing plans for InfoComm. We believe that face-to-face meetings, the communication and the opportunities that a show like InfoComm brings is necessary to reinvigorate the community and bring us back together. We look forward to it wholeheartedly, and we’re pushing hard for it. But I won’t tell you with certainty that it’s going to happen on that date. Now, I believe it to be true today as I speak with you, and I can tell you with absolute knowledge that it won’t move because of ISE. The only reason it would move would be due to the pandemic.
Sound & Communications: If both ISE and InfoComm occur in the same month, will people have to choose one show rather than the other?
Lloyd: I don’t want to make light of those who may have to choose one show over the other, but I also don’t want to discount the benefit of attending both shows. Today the ISE team is still working on the details of dates, and Mike and his team will be sharing those details in short order. But what’s really interesting about the two shows is the lack of overlap between the attendees. Now I know we anecdotally think of everyone as attending both shows, but, when we get down to the actual numbers and facts, of the close to 52,000 attendees that went to Amsterdam in 2019, less than five percent of those came from the U.S. And, conversely, when we look at the over 44,000 attendees of InfoComm in 2019, less than 11 percent of those were from outside of the Americas.
Sound & Communications: Characterize who attends ISE and InfoComm, respectively.
Lloyd: I think it’s important to note that when you think about the less than 5 percent that came from the U.S. and you start to break down that number, what becomes evident is that ISE is absolutely both a pro AV/commercial as well as a residential show. So, their numbers tell us that 53.7 percent of the audience is commercial, while 7.6 percent of the audience is residential, and 38.7 percent focus on both areas. The InfoComm show focuses on pro AV. And for those that are considering both shows, it’s important to recognize where InfoComm 2021 will spend the majority of its effort. This year will focus on conferencing and collaboration, digital signage, learning and content, and distribution, as well as media.
Sound & Communications: Are there any new/additional safety measures that prospective attendees and exhibitors should know about?
Lloyd: ISE recently published a thorough downloadable of safety measures for the show as well the WHO’s rating of the show presenting a low risk event. As part of the regular planning and execution for InfoComm, the team is in regular contact with the convention center and continues to monitor the recommendations of local health authorities as well as the CDC. They will provide updates to occupancy level, PPE, social distancing and cleaning protocols.
Sound & Communications: What is your feeling about people’s comfort with in-person, face-to-face events?
Lloyd: We have been working with both our exhibitors and attendees as well as industry partners and can share that our research shows us that May and June are the most optimal times for people to come back together. It’s when they feel like it is going to be a new step for the community to come back to events. And that gives us the time and place to put on not one, not two, but actually three shows—in the most ideal locations, and in what has been forecasted and researched to be the most ideal time. As an organization we will have a show in EMEA, a show in Asia and a show in North America.
Sound & Communications: Will there be a virtual component to all shows moving forward?
Lloyd: Although we can forecast and make estimates, everyone’s timeline is a bit different and a very personal decision. What may feel safe to me may not feel safe to you. And although there is rhyme and reason and plenty of desire for face-to-face meetings, not everyone is prepared for that. Providing a virtual offering, and continuing on the learnings that we took from Connected, gives us the opportunity to bring virtual content to the forefront, while still giving that networking and meeting opportunity that I think our community is still striving for. I think that’s the engagement that still needs to be figured out—if we can’t get together in person, how can we create the magic of, “I just caught you on the show floor and I want to show you this really cool thing”? Those are the benefits of face-to-face that we haven’t figured out in virtual yet. The dynamic of multiple options gives all of us the opportunity to take our safe next steps in how we all feel comfortable.
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