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Associations Focus: Exhibitions…Continued

Apr 1, 2007 12:00 PM

Industry expos—reviewed and anticipated.

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In mid-March, systems integrators, consultants, designers, manufacturers, and allied professionals rolled into Orlando, Fla., for the NSCA's annual expo, which this year brought the latest technologies, a trove of educational opportunities, and much more to the Orange County Convention Center.

On the main show floor, 400 exhibitors launched more than 1,000 new products. The Digital Signage Showcase, marking its return to the show with hands-on demonstrations of new business development and other skills required to serve an expanding market, was joined by the new Intelligent Buildings Showcase to further broaden attendees' show-floor experience. Exploring the implications and dynamics of how IP-based services impact cost, construction, and management of next-generation commercial structures, the Intelligent Buildings Showcase used dedicated stations to effectively demonstrate the latest technologies holding promise for today's generation of “smart” buildings. Also new this year: a special Tools of the Trade area that permitted the makers of the newest and most innovative tools to display them in a dedicated section that was accessible and easy to navigate.

Although final, vital statistics gathered at the show were still flowing in at press time, the NSCA was proud to reveal to Sound & Video Contractor just prior to press time that the average buyer at this year's expo purchases more than $2.1 million worth of products for resale annually.


Attendees have traditionally flocked to the expo for two main reasons. First, to view the latest the industry has to offer in terms of products, and second, for the expo's continuing educational opportunities. Indeed, while the show floor hummed with activity this year, badged visitors gathered to take advantage of the opportunity to earn more than 420 Learning Units (LUs) through classes providing 550 hours of industry education. Courses covered everything from business topics and project management to system design and legal matters. The expo curriculum was further enhanced by behind-the-scenes technology tours at a new 1,375-acre town center development in nearby Altamonte Springs, Fla., and at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

In a sweeping show of support of the NSCA's continuing education efforts, manufacturers at this year's expo contributed generously to the NSCA Education Foundation, with QSC Audio Products giving $25,000, and the Harman Pro Group chipping in $50,000. Atlas Sound wrote a check for $12,500 for the raffle, and Middle Atlantic Products was the founding sponsor of the sold-out Jason Perlman Memorial Golf Tournament. Joining forces, Shure and Atlas Sound additionally sponsored a program offering to match gifts at a rate of up to 50 percent. The putting challenge, sponsored by Bosch Communications Systems, and the silent auction also raised tidy sums.

“I can't express enough gratitude to everyone who turned out to lend us support,” says Melissa Henderson, the managing director of the NSCA Education Foundation. “Those who gave so generously have definitely done quite a bit to help us offer even more courses and build an even healthier industry.”

Off the show floor and outside the 14 audio demo rooms, attendees also proved that they could cut loose. They inundated this year's ExpoJam! at the Rosen Centre to hear The Commitments deliver some unforgettable Dublin soul, and reveled with the Drunk Unkles at Orlando venue Howl at the Moon. Featuring a gallery of faces familiar to many within the industry, the Drunk Unkles and their all-star blues review played to a packed house to benefit the NSCA Education Foundation.


Meanwhile, NSCA Executive Director Chuck Wilson announced at the event that the show will move to Dallas in 2008, instead of occupying the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), as originally planned.

“The move was dictated by the LVCC's decision to reduce meeting room space in the hall available to us,” Wilson says. “By moving to the Lone Star state, the expo will take advantage of expanded space at the Dallas Convention Center to introduce several new events within a single building technology conference co-located within its own aisles and hallways. Dallas, with its dynamic consultant and architectural communities, is the perfect place to unveil all that we'll have to offer.”

For all those bemoaning the move away from Las Vegas in 2008, fear not: Beginning with Expo 2009, the show will return to Sin City and its normal pattern of cross-country migration between Florida and Nevada.

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