The 2015 ISH Show in Frankfurt by all accounts did not disappoint. The show was spectacular and grandiose in size and attendance. In fact, official numbers released from the show indicate record numbers in attendance — 198,000 visitors, a new exhibitor record and a significant increase in the level of international guests.
ISH is the leading exhibition for sustainable sanitation solutions, innovative bathroom design and energy-efficient heating technologies in combination with renewable energies and environmentally friendly air conditioning, cooling and ventilation technology. This year, it once again brought together the sector’s most important subjects at the same time and place, and covered all horizontal and vertical aspects of future-oriented building solutions with the extensive range of products and services to be seen.
The ISH Water section was characterized by sustainable sanitation solutions for individual user requirements arising from the process of demographic change, as well as by innovative water management and drinking-water hygiene. On the Energy side, the focus was on energy efficiency as the second pillar of the new energy paradigm, i.e., the shift away from nuclear power. Modern heating, air-conditioning, cooling and ventilation technologies have a huge potential for cutting energy consumption and represent an important step on the way to achieving climate targets.
According to ISH, the claim of the being the world’s leading trade fair for the sector was substantiated by a 16% increase in the number of international visitors to 74,100—up from 63.985 in 2013) with the largest national contingents coming from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and China. Significant growth in visitor numbers from the USA, Great Britain and Ireland are also evidence of a noticeable economic recovery in important sanitation, heating and air-conditioning markets. Altogether, there were 618 new exhibitors at ISH 2015: 161 of them from Germany, 89 from Italy and 23 from Spain, which indicates a gradual market recovery.
Yet I had heard that only 4% of total visitors were from the Unites States and finding English-speaking booth attendees proved arduous at times. Look for the Union Jack lapel and you’ve found someone that can speak the language.
If you haven’t been to ISH, there are 11 pavilions—with multiple levels—that are categorized by the bathroom experience; air conditioning, cooling and ventilation; building and energy technology/renewable energies; installation technology; home and building automation. There is plenty to see so if you plan to visit in 2017—the show takes place every other year—be sure to take as much time as you can. I attended three days at the show and wasn’t even able to see much of the show.
“Overwhelming,” said Bob Short, Short’s Plumbing & Heating, Livingston, Montana. “It’s big, but in a good way.”
Additional feedback I received from the show was that the booths were large, clean, modern in appearance, and spacious enough to get around. Some of drawbacks were that a lot of the booths, again, did not have an English-speaking contingent. Also, what you see in this European trade show is, well, just that — European. A lot of the products and technology is not “transferable” to the U.S. based upon code compliance, early adoption or some products and/or technology are years down the pipeline for U.S. use.
Personally, the show is incredible, but its size can be daunting; wearing a comfortable pair of shoes is a must because you’ll do you good share of walking. I wish the show was a little easier to navigate but the ISH downloadable app was a plus while trying to find favorites to visit. I was issued free Wi-Fi with a press pass, but even that got a little spotty and non-existent at times.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time—during and after the show—with gracious company hosts Aquatherm and Viega, who both have major manufacturing facilities to the north of Frankfurt, in Attendorn, Germany. I know of several other contractors who were invited by manufacturers to visit the ISH Show and to do some Germany sightseeing. This might be a great way to get an opportunity to go overseas and visit the show.
The feedback from the exhibitors was incredibly positive; you can’t deny the traffic in the booths was high. It should be noted that all visitors weren’t wearing their ISH badges, or perhaps they weren’t even issued one. It’s nice to see names on badges to do a little scouting prior to initial introductions.
Overall, the ISH Show was well worth the trip over the pond. If you can find it in your budget—time-wise and monetarily— I would highly suggest making the trek in 2017.