ISE 2023: Our final review

With just a few days to go before the end of ISE 2023 in a sunny and not-too-cold Barcelona, here are my first impressions of a growing international event. You can read the daily reports on

After last year’s re-start with a bang, expectations were high, and what the 2023 edition was going to be was clear from the very first minutes in the queue in front of the south entrance: a crowd of people squeezed and clamoring like we haven’t remembered in a long time.

There is little to go around, this edition was exciting, a success across the board, in turnout, in number of exhibitors, in brilliance and in prospects.
We went back to talking about business, the future and plans, we went back to shaking hands, hugging friends and sharing a beer in the booths at the end of the day. Perhaps everything really is back to normal and, as after any period of deep crisis, enthusiasm and an infectious positivity has returned.

Are the products lacking, is the supply of components slow? It doesn’t matter, just slalom through emails and delivery promises, bundle everything – even what’s not there – and try to fulfill orders that, it seems, are coming in a bit for all sectors and applications.
We are heading in the right direction and, as far as we are concerned, we prefer to put aside the ambiguous and dark predictions and enjoy the moment.

Media briefing just before the opening of ISE 2023

ISE is on the cusp of popularity, a well-organized and well-run fair, at least according to our feedback and based on our experience as visitors and media partner.
Everyone loves the city and the Gran Via fair complex, the logistics and transportation work well, apart from the incomprehensible lack of cabs.
Barcelona then, without any doubt, has no shortage of venues and opportunities to dine and party at the end of the day….

What is the heterogeneous – and I keep thinking unidentified sector of “integrated systems“- is very well represented, if only in terms of numbers, variety of companies and technologies: the container is large and inside there is a little bit of everything, a scheme that to date works but could lose its drawing power if not properly managed.
The thematic areas and the various souls of ISE will have to be properly developed and enhanced, and according to what Mr. Mike Blackman told us in the interview you will read shortly, the ideas for the near future are there and seem to be well laid out.

I am thinking mainly of the Professional Entertainment sector and Sound Reinforcement (including PA), topics more inherent to our magazines LightSoundJournal, ZioGiorgio and IntegrationMag: four sound systems in demo mode via backing tracks (and at an unbearable volume ed.) is certainly not something new. A format I didn’t like twenty years ago and don’t like today.
I am convinced that there is much more to see and hear when it comes to sound, audio and sound diffusion, especially considering that the “real integration” of these products goes through remote control management systems, networks and especially immersive audio and augmented reality that should not be understood only as entertainment artifices but real opportunities to improve the user experience and, why not, find real application in fixed installations.
To stay in the groove, let’s also think about Artificial Intelligence, which is being talked about a lot but which, apart from the wow effect and the hype on the subject, still does not find its real application in a hospital, a school or any other context in everyday life, except for a few innovative and forward-looking projects suitable just for trade magazines…

In contrast, the technical content in the seminar areas was many and of high quality but, again and incomprehensibly, most of the audience snubbed it or relegated it to the background. One of the main reasons is that the fair is huge, impossible to see everything even if you stay for the full four days.

King Philip VI and Mike Blackman during the official ISE tour.

I personally would have liked to spend more time in the pavilion dedicated to Digital Signage, which I consider to be a market sector still with a lot of potential and not very present in installations by us in Italy while, again feeling, we seemed to see a few less new products in the world of digital transport and lighting in general, despite the interest around some brands that have actually brought to the market real and extremely useful solutions for complete and reliable transport and matrix systems.
But about products and technologies we have talked and will talk extensively in the technical articles that our incredible team has already produced during the show and will publish in the coming days.

A tremendous effort by our magazines at ISE 2023 and other major world trade shows!

We flooded social media and our sites with fresh news, just five minutes after the market release, much to the delight of some players who stopped us in the aisles to confess enthusiastically, “you know, about ten people have already written to us for information about the product that came out and as soon as they read your news!” How about that.

Here, dear companies, let me make the final comment, since we, like many, have been crying blood over the past few years: remember that if we are still doing all this – with a not inconsiderable expenditure of energy and money – it is solely and exclusively because of your support. The alternative is for you to “sing and play the nursery rhyme” yourselves, a mode of communication that, allow me to say after 23 years of experience, does not work as well as some may believe…

Aldo Chiappini
LightSoundJournal Team

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