Bedankt and Farewell
By Peter Schuyler, Account Manager
This year’s ISE was bittersweet for many as they crisscrossed the RAI’s trade show floor one final time. ISE is an incredibly important show for many of our clients. Even with the uncertainty surrounding attendance due to the coronavirus and a couple of cyclones (Ciara and Dennis), our team had close to 100 meetings to cover over four days. Though I’ve worked for InGear for the better part of a decade, this show was my first and last ISE in Amsterdam. I’m no stranger to trade shows, with plenty of InfoComms, CEDIAs, LDIs, and even the odd TCEA under my belt. However, ISE was a surprisingly different experience.
First, there is the city itself. Though I live in a place with more bike lanes than any other city in the U.S., I was surprised by how deeply dedicated Amsterdam is to cycling culture. Bikers are legion here, and I found myself in peril of being mowed down by a family of three having mistaken the bike lane for the sidewalk. It’s times like this I’m grateful to be a part of the InGear team, with experienced co-workers who brought me up to speed on getting around safely and ensured I enjoyed some of the charm Amsterdam has to offer.
Second, the RAI is unlike any other conference center. With 15 halls and events happening all over the site, navigating around was like a puzzle that I had to solve. It took a few extra hours prior to the show opening to chart my journey from hall to hall.
Third, ISE’s atmosphere is a stark contrast to that of InfoComm. American shows are big on spectacle, with a rushed vibe to them. Even in the crush of large events, the mood at the RAI was more relaxed. Attendees walked the floor unhurried, though still taking in exhibits and new products with just as much excitement and passion.
On closing day, we attended the ¡Hola Barcelona! event to prepare for ISE 2021 in its new host city. The excitement of moving the show was tempered with a heartfelt gratitude and affection for Amsterdam, its incredibly friendly people, and quiet charm. I was able to see that charm when I wandered the halls of the Rijksmuseum and spent some time among the artwork of Dutch masters. As I headed back to the hotel, I was met by a trio of street musicians playing a spectacular version of Vivaldi’s “Winter.” The composition’s ever-changing movement was the perfect farewell and reminder of the change and new experience that awaits us all in Spain. So bedankt Amsterdam, and hola Barcelona!
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