This February many of you will be rushing over to Amsterdam for the ISE Europe exhibition and many of you will already be planning ahead to make sure you spend your time wisely as well as enjoyably. There are talks to take in, stands to go visit and a good deal of networking to be done if you are serious about getting every benefit you can from this massive AV, system integration and communications exhibition.

And when the fair closes for the evening you certainly have to make sure you take in some of the sights and get a good cultural flavour of what Amsterdam has to offer if you’ve never been there before.

Here are top tips on how to survive ISE 2016 with your sanity intact.

The ISE Tradeshow

First of all, you’ve gotta have a plan, Stan. That means doing your homework about what’s on at this year’s event and who you want to see, talk to, grab a goody bag from or avoid like the plague. The best way to do this is to visit the ISE website and have a careful browse a good week or two beforehand. That way you’ll be armed, or reasonably well-armed, for 4 days of extreme tech-advertising overload.

While you may need to pack your notebooks and such stuff, the most important thing you’ll need is your mobile phone with a decent note taking app. On its own the phone is great for noting down important points, but apps like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote will make it a breeze to collect and structure all your notes, photos, videos and audio recordings as you go. And if you plan to use your phone all day then an external battery pack is an essential.

Speaking of power, don’t forget your adapters. Holland uses type C, E and F sockets and you don’t want to get caught without access to electricity. As a final note, remember to check the cost of using your phone abroad if you want to avoid a nasty shock when you get home! Our top tip: Download the ISE app before you leave.

When you get to the exhibition you need to realise a couple of things. First off, it’s big. Really big. This year there are around 1,100 exhibitors, so you are going to be spending those four days walking long distances. At the very least, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and go armed with snacks and a good size bottle of water. ISE 2016 is all about pacing yourself so you have enough energy to last. If you normally track your activity with a fitness device or app, ISE is a prime opportunity to rack up your scores.

If you have wandered around ISE at any point, you will know that various sales people will be vying for your attention. Some of these can be quite pushy so remember to be polite but firm if you want to get away. Pretending you’ve just seen a friend in the distance is always a good option, and a great way to practice your acting skills!

What to See in Amsterdam

Of course, you don’t want your whole trip to ISE to be just about ISE, even if you are nerd of the year. Amsterdam is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city and it should be on everyone’s list to visit at least once during a lifetime.

Amsterdam in February can get quite chilly, with average temperatures at just 4 degrees Celsius. So pack clothes for cold weather and include casual layers for going out in the evening and having a good time.

There are plenty of attractions to take in, bars and nightclubs to hangout at as well as fine restaurants to suit almost any palate. If you like museums find time to pop into the world famous Rijksmuseum or visit the equally well-known flower market before taking a soothing walk (if your tired feet can take it) along the canal side. If you want to find somewhere to lunch during the day, and it’s not too cold, the Vondelpark is pretty serene and there’s plenty of what the locals call street food, small kiosks along the canal, to choose from. And while we’re on the subject of food, TimeOut magazine recently published a list of the 20 best restaurants in Amsterdam.

If you can stay the extra day then be sure to check out 24H Amsterdam this year, when hotels and clubs open their doors and throw up some special surprises! If concerts are more your thing then you’ll find Skunk Anansie playing on 8th February, and Jason Derulo on 9th February.

Help others discover OMBEA

We’re also visiting ISE this year. Our agenda is to meet with passionate individuals and companies across the world that can help others discover the benefits of OMBEA. Take a look at our OMBEA Partner Programme and, if it looks interesting to you, we can kick things off with a coffee and a chat.

Whatever you do, we hope you’ll have a rewarding and fun time and that you’ll be able to discover new things, visit a few great places and widen your existing network of friends and business associates. One thing’s for sure, Amsterdam and the ISE trade fair will have something for everyone!

OMBEA is an audience response system that displays live feedback on people’s opinions and knowledge. It’s super-easy to use with your Microsoft PowerPoint slides for voting, engagement and assessment. For more information visit www.ombea.com.