2014 ASPE Convention and Exposition: The effects of digital Technology

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The 2014 ASPE Show has now come and gone with thousands of professionals and over 300 exhibitors and suppliers within the industry exhibiting their products. As always ASPE does a wonderful job in putting together a great show that offers something for everyone from the contractor, engineer, and to the supplier. This convention and expo included programs to earn CEU’s, educational sessions, new product innovation showcases, and a keynote address from Chicago Bear’s great, Dan Hampton. It is clear that ASPE does a spectacular job and works diligently to offer the best value to every attendee.

Surfing the expo floor is always a pleasure to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest technology in the industry. What’s especially interesting is the methods manufacturer’s come up with to showcase their innovations. This always includes fascinating demonstrations and often a clear, see-through model of the product to view the behind the scenes technology in action before your very own eyes. Or witness demonstrations and hands-on training on the latest tools to save contractors time and money with installations.

Yes, the ASPE Convention and Exposition has it’s excitement. But what’s interesting to note is how things have changed over the years because of the economy and modern digital technology advancements with the internet, smart phones, and social media. Strolling the floor between exhibitors, one couldn’t help but notice a growing trend; the all to often lack of interaction between exhibitor and attendee.

Now this was certainly not the case in all instances by any means. In fact, many exhibitors were very busy and giving demonstrations one after another, drawing the attention of additional attendees. But it displayed a transition from expos years ago and how much things have changed over the years. We are all so use to getting information at our fingertips almost instantly. And we decide how much we want and if we want to know more. Everything is fast-paced, get-it-now, and in short bursts of information like twitter, 140 characters are all that’s needed. It’s interesting to observe how modern technology has affected our interaction with each other and the art of developing rapport while building personal relationships and business partnerships.

We typically say or hear “This is how I’ve been doing it for 20 years so why change?” It took trust, relationships, and partnerships for this thought process to begin. But it’s evident how difficult it can be to change someone’s mind to go in another direction on a product or installation process. The effort and often cost can be substantial. This was evident during the Exhibitor portion of the expo.

Does this make conventions and expositions void or without need? Absolutely not. For information technology and social media can only go so far in someone gaining enough knowledge about a product. There’s nothing quite like seeing it up close and in-action to make a better assessment. However, it’s apparent that our industry is still trying to find the perfect balance of using digital technology and social media with human interaction to build relationships and partnerships. Both are extremely valuable and it will be worth watching over the next 5 – 10 years. It will be worth witnessing the industry’s development on using both of these vital methods of communication in the world today and how it will enhance and transform expos and conventions in the future.

The 2016 ASPE Convention and Exposition in Phoenix, AZ will be here before we know it. It will be a must see.

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