Before the last bulb was packed, and before the final carpet was rolled, both attendees and exhibitors were already thinking about next year’s LIGHTFAIR in Philadelphia. For reasons both good and bad.
Chicago is a great city (full disclosure: it’s where I grew up, so I know my way around a little). In what can only be considered a stroke of luck, both the Cubs and White Sox were in town during LIGHTFAIR, so there was both afternoon and evening entertainment for baseball fans. The restaurants offer a lot of everything, with portion sizes comparable to just about any other city in the country. There is also plenty of hotel space, but most of it is not very close to McCormick Place. The cab line to get in and out was always long.
The set-up inside the show was questionable at best. While it was great to have the education sessions and media area overlooking a great view of Lake Michigan, there were some issues. More than one exhibitor thought it was interesting that James, a China-based manufacturer that some believe is a reason for steadily dropping LED prices, was located close to the main entrance. Most of what I heard was no one really wanted to be next to the large James booth.
The set-up itself was a bit confusing. It seemed like booth numbers were out of order, with some of the larger booths spilling over to other rows, making it hard to find a specific exhibitor on your first (or second) pass through the trade show floor. Plus, some booths were pushed off to the side, surrounded by nothing but open space, so foot traffic wasn’t happening. One exhibitor told me he had to leave his booth to draw people to his space.
I talked with at least 10 exhibitors who said they are looking forward to next year’s LIGHTFAIR in Philadelphia. They love the exhibit hall, plus the East coast location.
I did have a chance to talk with some of the larger lighting manufacturers who were exhibiting at LIGHTFAIR. One point that really stood out to me was their effort to make “doing business” much easier for distributors and contractors. Whether it is faster, easier ways to get products to distribution partners, a simpler way to be better partners, or better ways to install and connect products – the manufacturers are focused on not just making better products, but being better partners.
A few of the manufacturers invited me to their main campus to look at not just their production facilities, but also their efforts to educate their employees. I will be interested to find out how they are working to not only retain their current employees, but also keep the customers in mind as they create products for the future.
I was also able to get a good indication of how the show went through the eyes of Greg Ehrich and Michael Colligan of the Get A Grip On Lighting Podcast. Needless to say, they have the most talked-about podcast in the lighting industry today. Both said multiple exhibitors stopped them to say hello or thank them for the podcast as they walked the show floor. lightED will be getting some feedback on their thoughts about the show in some upcoming podcasts specifically targeted to the lightED audience.Tagged with 2018, Lightfair