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Research highlights Value of In-Person Events in AV Industry

With a degree of optimism, ISE, AVIXA and CEDIA look forward to the return of industry events next year, as market research finds that AV professionals are eager to attend face-to-face events in 2021.

During October, Integrated Systems Europe commissioned research, targeting AV professionals to evaluate visitor appetites for conferences and events following COVID-19. The research, completed before news of a COVID-19 vaccine, was carried out by Fusion-Insight to gauge interest in face-to-face, digital and hybrid event formats. The results show that 98% of the audience missed attending in-person AV industry events.

ISE was forced to postpone its Barcelona debut in February 2021 due to the global pandemic. In the absence of in-person events, there has been a sharp rise in digital events to fulfil education, networking, and profiling agendas. Indeed, ISE launched its own series of digital events called RISE Spotlight, which has been welcomed by the industry. Virtual events are useful for lead generation, deepening customer relationships and building brand profile but live experiences such as touching, seeing and hearing AV products, are yet to be replicated.

ISE wanted to explore the general feeling towards face-to-face events in 2021. The research consisted of a web-based survey sent to ISE’s database and a collection of in-depth interviews with ISE exhibitors. Over 700 (711 completed responses analysed and used within the research by Fusion Insight and Strategy) people from 96 countries (71% of respondents were based in Europe, 13% North America, 8% Asia, 5% Middle-East, 1% Central and South America, 1% Australia and New Zealand, 1% Africa) responded to the survey with 95% having attended ISE before (60% in February 2020).

The research and the results overwhelmingly endorse a return to in-person as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. Findings show that 98% of the research audience missed attending events, with 42% of these missing meeting and networking with people the most, 32% missing the live experience of products, and 21% missing the direct exchange with suppliers and customers.

Almost 70% of the audience is ready to attend in-person trade shows and 57% would be ready to visit international ones. Given that this research was conducted before news of a vaccine, it shows a desire to get back out to physical events again.

Mike Blackman, Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events explains: “We felt it very important to listen to our industry in shaping our offering for 2021 and so we commissioned independent market research specialists to conduct this intelligence project for us. The results clearly demonstrate that, for an industry at the cutting edge of immersive technologies, there is no substitute to the touch-see-hear experiences that are at the heart of the AV industry and shows such as ISE.  We are working very hard towards the goal of ISE2021 in Barcelona in June next year and it is reassuring to confirm that strong demand is there too.”

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