You’ll have to wait a little bit longer for Integrated Systems Europe to make its Barcelona, Spain, debut. ISE 2021, slated for Feb. 2-5 at the Fira de Barcelona, has been postponed to June amidst a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across Europe. The June event will also have a corresponding virtual event, says ISE in an official statement.
“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,” says the official 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,” says Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Events. “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. 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.”
Fira de Barcelona chairman Pau Relat comments, “From Fira de Barcelona we highly value ISE’s strong commitment to Barcelona and, in moments as complex as the current ones, the decision to postpone the event for a few months in order to ensure the best possible edition with the largest international participation of companies and visitors, will be very positive both for attendees and for the city. We will keep on working together to ensure that a leading event such as the ISE has a great first edition in its new home in Barcelona in 2021.”
David Labuskes, CEO, AVIXA, comments, “AVIXA is proud to be a partner with CEDIA in delivering ISE to the audiovisual industry each year. We full support ISE’s decision to postpone the first show in Barcelona until June 2021. This isn’t a trivial undertaking and has thousands of moving parts, but in making this decision, ISE reaffirms their commitment to the health of all those who participate in these events from the taxi cab driver to the exhibitor teams. And all of those same people will be even more committed to be a part of the extravaganza that ISE promises to be.”
Tabatha O’Connor, CEO, CEDIA, adds, “We are eager to gather as a community once again at ISE 2021, the decision to postpone was made after careful and thorough consideration. We know moving the show to June will provide the time and resource needed to ensure the show is both safe to attend and can deliver on the exceptional experience that ISE is known for, fostering opportunities to learn, discover, and be inspired by the technology that is driving our industry forward.”
The ISE 2021 postponement comes less than a week after Blackman said he was concerned about the increase in COVID-19 cases across Europe in the last week or so, while noting exhibitors had expressed a desire to keep the show on as scheduled.
A risk assessment by ISE staffers and their health consultants in July using World Health Organization protocols show the COVID-19 risk as “low,” but a recent increase in COVID-19 cases across Europe clearly changed the plans for ISE 2021.
Inside ISE 2021 Postponement
ISE organizers are adding a virtual element to the 2021 show, but Blackman has said for months he is confident the event can move forward with an in-person component, noting show staffers have worked closely with Fira officials and local health agencies to ensure the venue will be safe for attendees.
The plans for the digital component of the event are still in the works. The 2020 edition of ISE, the last one in Amsterdam, attracted about 52,000 people to the RAI, well below the 2019 attendance record of 82,000 people. Increasing concerns about the coronavirus and a massive snowstorm sweeping across Europe kept the attendance lower than it had been in years.
Blackman had said the in-person component of ISE 2021 would move forward even if attendees from North America couldn’t be in Barcelona. They make up about 5 percent of the overall annual ISE attendance, although that number has been increasing in recent years.