ISA to move to knowledge-based event
Automation Week to replace ISA Expo in 2010
After another year of declining attendance and exhibitors,
the International Society of Automation announced Wednesday it would end its
ISA Expo and would instead conduct a week-long series of knowledge-based
programs and events.
The first ISA Automation Week will be Oct. 4-7, 2010 at the
Westin Galleria in downtown Houston.
That's a major change from the past few years, where the Expo was held at Houston's Reliant
Center exhibition hall. In
going away from an event centered on trade show booths and floor traffic, ISA
officials said Wednesday they wanted to get back to more of the core principles
"It's all about knowledge," said ISA president Jerry Cockrell.
"ISA is a knowledge society. We have 30,000 members and we train, we educate,
we run seminars and symposia, we have standards, books, educational programs -
everything we disseminate is based on knowledge. We're excited about what ISA
Automation Week can offer."
This year, those education programs drew just 200
registrants, while about 8,000 attended the Expo. Both figures were down
significantly from 2008, and overall ISA attendance fell in the last decade. There
were also noticeably fewer exhibitor booths on the Reliant Center
floor. While the cost and logistics of holding such an event in a convention
center were factors, ISA officials focused their announcement around being able
to call more attention to the work of ISA technical committees and the ability
to deliver better knowledge more effectively.
What it will mean for vendors was also clear. While
suppliers will be able to exhibit at Automation Week, they will be limited to
10-by-10 spaces, and no vendor will be able to have more than two spaces. With
just 100 booth spaces available for the 2010 show in Houston, the emphasis will go away from
product displays. In fact, the display floor will be closed during technical
sessions at Automation Week to move attendees toward those sessions.
ISA officials said they will continue to alter the
Automation Week format between now and the 2010 event, and left open that the
2011 event could be moved out of Houston
and expanded in the size of exhibitor booths available. But the days of a trade
show event built around automation knowledge are over.
"The show used to be the place where companies announced
product releases. Now there are many other ways to get products out into the
market," said ISA executive director Pat Gouhin. "The whole dynamics have
changed; we have to change, too."
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