Hopefully this past summer represents more than great vacations, and marks an inflection point for our industry from the hunkering-down strategies during the recession to optimism and planning for future opportunities.
The timing is perfect to explore these opportunities as the conference and trade show season starts to heat up. While webinars are a great way to take an intensive look into specific topics, the trade shows allow you to take a deep dive and learn best practices from your peers, explore new technologies and new and exciting business models. Some events are more invested in conference sessions while others focus on the show floor – some do a pretty good job of balancing both.
For example, print providers and application owners alike may consider attending the Document Strategy Forum in Chicago (September 13th – 15th). This show will help you understand the changing requirements for mission critical business communication – mostly oriented to transaction printing with some multi-channel communications sessions. This event is more conference and less tradeshow and is a good place to network without being overwhelmed.
The favorite in the printing industry is Graph Expo, which is being held October 3rd through 6th at the McCormick Place in Chicago. Most of our industry segments are represented at this show, including graphic arts, books, newspapers, direct mail, transaction, display graphics, and labels and packaging. The event has a big conference and a big tradeshow – there is a lot to see and learn across all of these segments.
For a deeper dive into the specialty market, SGIA 10 in Las Vegas might be the right show for you (October 12th through 15th). If you want to learn how to produce images that end up on retail floors, vehicles, textiles, ceramics, and bathroom sinks, then this is definitely a must attend show. If you want to take an even deeper dive into the textile market, perhaps you should attend the IFAI Expo Americas 2010 show in Orlando.
Or, the photography market might be beckoning you. PhotoPlus Expo will be held in NYC (October 28th – 30th). This is a perennial favorite for the professional photography industry.
Many of our industry associations also have niche conferences and I suspect that attendance at these events will be much higher than prior years. Often attending these conferences enables discounts on membership and future events and webinars. Supporting these industry associations also tends to pay dividends for our industry. That’s one of the many reasons that Oce supports them. For example, Oce is sponsoring the Pacific Printing and Imaging Association’s fall conference (www.pacprinting.org), and the PINE (www.pine.org) Print Management Conference in Newport, RI (October 16th – 19th). Printing Industries of America (PIA) will be hosting their Converge conference (November 6th – 9th). This is a good show to explore the latest in new technologies and cross-media trends.
These are just some of the industry events that I’m considering attending. If you haven’t been to any of these events before, I highly encourage you to look into them. For those of you who are regulars, I look forward to reconnecting. I’d also be interested in hearing feedback on these shows and recommendations of others that do a particularly good job on either the educational or tradeshow aspects of the event.