Mike Blackman #ISE20Years interview - part 5: Using our own technology

Mike Blackman #ISE20Years interview - part 5: Using our own technology
ISE is the leading show for professional AV technology - and so it makes sense for us to use the tech for our own purposes. But as Integrated Systems Events Managing Director Mike Blackman explains, when it comes to rebooking our exhibitors, it took a few years.

RebookingWhat are some ways in which ISE has used AV technology for its own purposes?

Every show does rebooking in some way or another, where exhibitors get to choose their space at the following year’s show. We do ours during the show.

Starting in 2005, we stood there in a room with a floor plan and a ruler and a pencil, and we drew lines and we had an eraser for when someone changed their mind.

Some years on, I said, “You know what? We are an AV show – we should be using screens for this. We should be using the CAD software that we're using in the background anyway.”

We put in a number of things to make it more sophisticated, to make it more user friendly and convenient for our exhibitors. Those guys don't want to be standing there for an hour waiting to rebook, they want to be on their stands talking to customers. So we had to speed up the system. Over the years it's developed and become more sophisticated.

We’d get situations where customers were standing in front of the screen on their phones talking to their colleagues or bosses in the US or in China or wherever, trying to decide on a space and trying to describe it, so we put it online live so that they could actually say, “Here's a link. Please go and look at this.” And if the decision maker was not at the show and needed to see what was going on, they could follow the rebooking process in real time, live.

"When we were in the RAI, we put in the very big screen inside the Europa entrance the first time. I can remember the looks on people's faces. They walked in and went 'wow'."

That's where we were a bit revolutionary. Our sister shows in the US are doing the same thing now, but we're the ones who started doing electronic online booking.

One of the things I've always said about ISE is we should be using the technology that belongs to our show rather than paper. So you see more and more of the signage around the show becoming digital. You see things like rebooking, or other things which we do, we changed to actually use products and solutions from the AV industry. It's a showcase for anyone to see.

When we were in the RAI [Amsterdam], we put in the very big screen inside the Europa entrance the first time. I can remember the looks on people's faces. They walked in and went "wow". And that's nice to see because it gives them inspiration. It gives them ideas to say, “Oh, I could do that somewhere.”

And we started to look at the things like this and say, “OK. What should we change? Why should we change it? Is it possible to change it? What's the benefit?” And we try to implement that.

We did a lot of it the RAI. We put in the first digital signage system at the show together with Sony back in 2008, I believe or 2007. I was at Sony's offices and they showed me the digital signage product they had at the time, and I said that would be cool to put in ISE. We were in Hall 8 and we put in a temporary digital signage system throughout the hall. The CEO of the RAI came around and said, “Mike, this is interesting. Should we do this at the RAI?” I said, “Of course.” The result was the RAI put in their digital signage system a year later.

So we do some things which influence what's going on. We've already changed some things at Fira Barcelona and there are many more new things that we've been discussing with the Fira Barcelona management. They're very open and accepting of our ideas.


> Part 6: Growth of the show

View all News & Insights

Related News

ISE Partners

no content here, this panel is used only to display the main title

Media Partners