Hola! Barcelona

ISE will finally make its debut in Barcelona this year as an in-person event. Amy Wallington talks to Mike Blackman, managing director at Integrated Systems Events about what to expect from the show.

AW: This will be the first ISE in Barcelona. What will be the biggest changes?

MB: We ran a smaller scale ISE in Barcelona last year, hosting around 2,000 visitors for the more regionalised ISE Live & Online event – but this will be the first international ISE to take place at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via. There’s only a few weeks to go and the show floor plan is looking great with over 800 companies exhibiting. The show floor will feature a brand-new Discovery Zone, highlighting 40 new companies exhibiting for the first time.

ISE’s redesigned show floor will also include six Technology Zones set out over five spacious halls, grouping together exhibitors with similar technologies. This approach makes it easier for attendees to find and compare the solutions they are looking for and saves them time.

The six Technology Zones are: NEW Unified Comms & Education Technology (Hall 2); NEW Residential & Smart Building (Hall 2); Multi-Technology Zone (Halls 3 and 5); Digital Signage & DooH (Hall 6); Audio (Hall 7); and NEW Lighting & Staging (Hall 7), featuring a special Lighting Demo Zone.

AW: You’ve added a superyacht section this year. Do you see this as a big / upcoming market in the residential AV sector?

MB: Absolutely, there was a huge growth of 45% in 2020 (superyacht growth is measured by order books based on new build orders and major refits). This sector – much like the residential sector – is moving towards AI, automation and smart interactions. However, it’s not as simple as ‘copy and paste’ as Superyachts have specific requirements when it comes to technology. It’s an exciting area of opportunity for integration specialists.

The first Superyacht Technology Summit at ISE will take place on 12 May, along with Tech Talks explaining how to succeed in the industry and highlight how blue-chip companies can work successfully with superyacht R&D teams, with participants including Derek Munro of Divergent Yachting, Kris Hogg from Samsung, and Feargus Bryan expanding on the new steering council for technology.

AW: Pre-pandemic, residential took around a quarter of the market with commercial taking around three-quarters. Has this changed and are you seeing a growth in residential exhibitors this year?

MB: Yes, especially now that so much of our home/work lives have been combined thanks to a rise in hybrid working. The newly combined Residential & Smart Building Zone is the strongest-ever offering in this fast-moving area of AV technology. Presenting show partner, KNX, will be showcasing its member companies here and taking part in the Smart Building Conference.

AW: What would you say are the biggest trends in the residential sector?

MB: Our industry is at the forefront of many trends that have accelerated through the impact of the pandemic across the world. Indeed, with so many of us forced to spend more time at home, smart home technology is expected to reach mass adoption at all levels of the market in the next few years. And it’s becoming much more than cinema rooms and giant screens. The trend is very much towards integrated solutions that read and respond to users’ needs with minimal intervention by the occupant.

There has been increased demand in the Smart Building sector, as homeowners, property developers, architects, designers and of course integrators are creating hybrid spaces to live, work and play – creating connected homes featuring immersive spaces.

AW: Do you have any special events or features taking place at the show?

MB: We have a lot happening during the week, with plenty of networking, events and professional development opportunities organised by ISE, AVIXA or CEDIA. We have two fantastic Keynotes signed up – Refik Anadol, a media artist and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence and Alan Greenberg, CEO and co-founder of Illuminarium.

Expect to see some new features for 2022, including the innovative ISE Sound Xperience. This dedicated cinema complex is just a few minutes’ walk from the Fira Gran Vía and offers 12 uniquely configured listening rooms to showcase audio with depth, accuracy and pin-point clarity. This initiative, in partnership with Eventos Filmax Cinema Gran Vía complex, is the ultimate setting to sample the signature sound of the world’s leading audio brands.

Combining a mix of paid-for and free sessions, our thought-leadership programme covers a wide variety of industry topics. Starting on Monday with two, full-day conferences, the programme will take place on dedicated stages within Hall 5. There will also be Spanish content in the AV Experience Zone, produced with AVIXA, while the Catalan Pavilion, in association with ACCIO, promises a great experience for visitors from the local region.

AW: Will there be a way for people to join in with ISE if they cannot attend?

MB: For ISE 2022, we recognise that digital content can be complementary to the physical in-person show, and we will be broadcasting Rise.Live, a daily informative news programme. We are all looking forward to getting back to one big ‘wow-factor’ ISE, and a safe and exciting week in Barcelona. We cannot wait to reconnect with everyone.