ISE 2012 – The Best AV Trade Show I’ve Been To

raveiseteam-0212I just returned from what I think was the best trade show I’ve ever attended in my life. Seriously.

I’ve been to over 20 InfoComm’s, 18 CEDIA’s, 10 COMDEX’s, at least 10 CES’s, a half dozen InfoComm Asia’s, five Photokina shows, at least three DSE shows and a dozen or so other random shows over the years, but nothing compares to my 8th visit to the ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) show last week in Amsterdam.

Some eight years ago, CEDIA and InfoComm got together and decided to help the European AV market by creating a mega AV show annually in Europe. The first year was in Geneva, Switzerland and was small, but had an elite attendance of who’s who in Europe. After shifting it to Belgium for a bit, the ISE show has settled in Amsterdam ever since — and what a great decision that was. Not only has Amsterdam been an amazing host to ISE, but the show’s attendance has also grown exponentially due to the simple and inexpensive access of the Netherlands to the rest to Europe.

But, that wasn’t the only reason it’s LITERALLY the best show I’ve ever been to this year. It’s the layout, the food and the quality of attendees and exhibitors. Over 900 booths (known as stands in Europe) filled some 10 halls with BOTH HomeAV and ProAV gear. And, best of all, there were specific halls that housed JUST Unified Communications and Digital Signage, in addition to the area specific to residential AV stands. So, the layout made it simple to figure out where to go and easier to plan your three-day experience. I literally got to see every hall.

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OK, on to the food. You know the hot dogs, hamburgers and occasional salad stations you see at most trade shows? Not at ISE. ISE was filled with crepes, stroopwafels, three full-on restaurants — not just a food court; they had a shop with fresh handmade sandwiches, home cooked pizzas and a coffee bar that had over 30 types of coffees. I say we import that to Vegas and Indy for 2012!

And, everyone was there. You name the manufacturer and they were there. Anyone who’s at CEDIA or InfoComm was also at ISE.

We had an incredible time. We shot over 900 product videos, blogged 20-plus times and Tweeted all about the show. You can find all our coverage documented here: http://www.ravenowise.com

Check it out and see why you need to be there next year. Finally, we want to give a HUGE congratulations to Mike Blackman and Dan Goldstein of ISE, Randy Lemke of InfoComm and Don Gilpin of CEDIA for hosting not only the best AV show ever, but also the world’s largest AV show ever.

Gary Kayye is the founder of rAVe [Publications]. Reach him at gary@ravepubs.com