ISE 2018 Will Be the Biggest and Best AV Trade Show in History

If you’re not headed to Amsterdam next week for ISE, you should be. So, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make reservations to go next year. ISE has quietly and quickly become the most important AV trade show on this planet. I don’t know which show AV people on Mars go to, but on Earth, nearly all of them are going to ISE.

How many? Well, this year, over 80,000 AV people will be there.

To put that in perspective, that’s nearly 35 percent of the total number of people in the AV industry. And, trust me, we know the numbers as they all subscribe to and read rAVe.

InfoComm is the most important AV trade show in North America. InfoComm China is the most important AV trade show in China. InfoComm India is India’s show. INTEGRATE hands-down, is the most important show for ANZ, InfoComm MEA is THE SHOW in the Middle East, TecnoMultimidia InfoComm in Brazil is South America’s AV fair and Integrated Systems Russia is a must-see for, well, Russia.

ISE is THE WORLD’s show.

And, over 25 percent of the attendees will NOT be from Europe. A few years ago, it was 5 percent. That’s like 21,000. That, in and of itself, would make a great trade show attendance number on its own! Just ask CEDIA — that’s what they get.

ISE — Integrated Systems Europe — is only 15 years old and, thanks to the leadership Mike Blackman through InfoComm and CEDIA, it has become the place that more AV manufacturers launch new products than anywhere else. And, this year, of the 100+ companies I personally spoke to leading up to the show, all of nearly all of them have chosen to launch new products at ISE instead (yes, instead) of at any other show in the world. That’s a huge shift in strategy for the AV market.

The impact of that can’t be overstated. The industry has shifted from typically summer-launch to a February-launch of new products.

Some of that is pure luck. For example, the timing is better as CES just happened and many of the big companies in AV have big-sister consumer divisions that launch residential-version of their gear and the same production lines (or, in most cases now, the same products) are re-launched in their chimerical form at ISE a month later. But, some of it is pure sales strategy — May and June launches occur right before everyone goes on vacation and as they say, “out of sight, out of mind,” has hit the marketing departments of many companies on the side of their head line a ton of bricks. So, they’ve changed their strategy to take advantage of the sales lead times to launch in February and ship in the summer. And, this was truly a calculated strategy. You can’t just decide this, a company has to plan this shift well in advance. And, it took years for companies like SonyCrestronHarman and Sennheiser to change this strategy.

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So, the impact of ISE can’t be overstated.

And, Blackman and his team are controlling the AV industry in a way that most people wouldn’t have imagined back during that first show in Geneva, Switzerland in 2004. Fast forward 15 years and now his team, indirectly, controls the annual flow of product launches, product road-map planning, roll-outs and technology curves. Weird to think, but it’s true!

So, all this is to say, WHY AREN’T YOU ATTENDING?

You should be. ISE 2019 is February 5-8 in Amsterdam. Make plans to attend — you won’t regret it. It’s well worth the investment.

As for the 2018 event – for those of you attending – here’s a videocast I recorded yesterday with Mike Blackman:

He outlines what to expect in the 15 Halls of exhibit floor space (yes, 15 halls — to put that in perspective, ISE is about three-times the size of InfoComm), during the projection mapping entertainment show all over the city of Amsterdam, how to get to and from the show now — there are new trains! — and all about all the new special events happening in and around ISE. It’s worth watching and getting to know Mike, too.

I’ll see you in Amsterdam!

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (, a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (, rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at