Trade Shows: How Valuable Are They?

With companies such as Extron and Crestron exiting various trade shows, questions arise as to why these big-name companies are leaving, and what it means for the value of trade shows.

Tim Albright

Over the course of my AV career I have been to a trade show or two. There are those who abhor the travel, the hotel, and the convention center food. I am not one of those.

I love the spectacle, meeting new friends and old, and seeing first-hand the newest and latest products offered by those in our industry.

However, over the last few years there have been a number of AV companies exiting various trade shows for one reason or another. As we come upon the CEDIA Expo in Dallas I wanted to take a moment to talk about both sides of this debate.

To Go or Not To Go

When Extron left both the US InfoComm Show as well as ISE I was among their fiercest critics. How could they leave? It was like a great friend who left the party way too early. How were they going to survive? How would they train?

Well, they’ve done pretty well in the last three years as they have shifted their resources to other areas, and other shows in fact.

Crestron this year announced it was not exhibiting at the CEDIA Expo (editor’s note: Similar to what Microsoft did at InfoComm, Crestron will be at CEDIA but will not have a booth. Some of its solutions and products will be on display in its integration partners’ booths. Crestron will be a significant part of two major announcements at CEDIA as well).

Same question here. Why? Again, how would they connect with the residential market? How would they train? I’m certain they will find a way just like Extron has done. These are not the only ones who have opted out of the shows but they are the biggest names to date.

If you compare exhibitor lists from year to year for any show, there will be movement from small to midsize exhibitors. One year someone will go and the next year maybe not. These aren’t the ones that make headlines. It’s when the big manufacturers show up, or step out, that grabs our attention.

The reason is they are indeed like old friends we expect to see at a reunion of sorts. Every year we make the trek to wherever the show is and expect to see this engineer or that rep. When they are not there it’s a bit of a letdown. But it shouldn’t be.

These companies have to do what is best for them and their business. Extron has released a product almost every month since announcing their departure from the US InfoComm and ISE. Not a bad track record of press releases and coverage.

I’m sure Crestron will do something to keep in front of the residential market. It just won’t be at CEDIA.

I personally wish they would exhibit. There is value for those in the industry who don’t get that much time for training and product discovery. Both InfoComm and CEDIA produce valuable events for the industry. 

For those not exhibiting, we miss you but life, and the shows, will go on.

Read Next: The Results Are In: What Readers Value Most in Trade Associations

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