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Great Ideas: ISA Expo 2014

Eight points of interest for the upcoming Orlando show, which takes place April 23-26.

Here’s hoping Mother Nature is done throwing the Polar Vortex in all of our faces by the end of April. But in case winter just won’t go away, we have sunny skies, warmth, and palm trees awaiting us down south, because it’s back to Orlando April 23-26 for the 2014 edition of the ISA Expo.

The show’s theme this year, “Great Ideas,” is based on – you guessed it – great ideas as well as partnerships. “ISA Sign Expo brings together the world’s largest gathering of sign professionals and provides the opportunity for great ideas to be shared,” says Brandon Hensley, chief operating officer, International Sign Association. “The ideas generated at the Expo help recharge attendees personally and professionally and allow their business to keep growing.”

Early Birds Get the Worm
Show dates
Education and networking: April 23-26
Trade show: April 24-26

Expo floor hours
Thursday, April 24: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, April 25: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 26: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

ISA reports that it’s expecting a sold out event with more than 17,000 attendees at this year’s show. “We are trending 40-percent ahead in our attendee registrations compared to the same time last year [early 2013]. …We are seeing more consumer confidence and earlier commitment to exhibit space, hotel bookings, and registrations,” says Hensley. “As for demographics, we trend very heavily on the decision maker and buyer side: 37 percent owner/CEO, 22 percent management, and 89 percent having purchasing authority; and 84 percent of attendees will either purchase at the show or within six months of the event.”

Early Bird registration must be completed on or before March 14, 2014 ($30 for nonmembers; $15 for ISA members) After Early Bird registration: $40 for nonmembers; $25 for members) More than 10 education sessions are available for purchase as well (prices vary; education-package pricing includes entry to the trade show).

The official International Sign Expo Hotel Program offers discounted rates, no booking or service fees, and protection from scammers through Travel Planners. Those reserving a hotel room through Travel Planners will be eligible for a monthly drawing to win a $250 Visa gift card.

Registration and flight, car, and hotel information are all available at www.signexpo.org

Game Plan
“Whenever we are in Orlando, the facility is much easier to navigate based on the design of the building,” says Hensley. However, with more than 500 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees, mapping out the show floor once you’re there can be a little daunting. Early planning will streamline your on-floor process. Check out these navigation tools on signexpo.com to help you with your game plan:

• The complete 2014 exhibitor list. We provide a modified version specific to the wide-format marketspace but keep in mind that the show comprises all things signage – from neon and dynamic signage to cranes and more;

• An interactive floor plan; and

• MyExpoPlan, which allows you to build a personalized itinerary, listing exhibitors and booths you don’t want to miss while at the show.

New to the show’s schedule is the ISA InkJet Print Theater. ISA and GASC co-hosted the Commercial Print Zone at Print 13 in Chicago last year, and have decided to continue and expand the program for ISA Expo. “The theater will provide hands-on solutions where you will be able to see printers in action and to increase your business knowledge in commercial print,” says Hensley. “The sessions are designed to solve the daily issues printers face as well as to highlight how sign companies can maximize their potential in commercial printing.” The Print Theater is an invitation-only event.

They’re Back
Back by popular demand: Dynamic Digital Signage Day. Taking place Wednesday, April 23, in the Dynamic Digital Park on the expo floor, the day is designed to connect you to the information, technology, and people in relation with the latest dynamic-signage solutions.

“The event was a standing-room/sold-out scenario last year, and all signs point toward a much stronger event this year. We know from surveying [with Roland] that our attendees and members are looking for partners and education on how digital signage works from a technical standpoint as well as the best business model,” says Hensley. “Eighty-eight percent of attendees see dynamic digital signage as a key complement to traditional signage. Given the future growth projections of digital signage and the path to market our current attendees and members hold, we see nothing but opportunity for ISA Sign Expo and our attendees in the dynamic digital space.”

The Hosted Design & Architect program is also back for the second year, and has been expanded to include more than 50 hosted emerging professionals. “ISA has partnered with SEGD and its Design+Connections education event, and for the first time these two events will leverage the strength of one another to increase the value the design community brings to the sign industry under one roof,” says Hensley. “ISA Sign Expo has also partnered with Disney to offer attendees a behind-the-scenes look at the design that goes into making the Disney magic happen,” he says. When in Rome!

As with any event where a large amount of professionals in the same field gather to discuss, inform, and learn from each other, networking is bound to happen – from arranged meetings to just waiting in line for coffee. Here are some set events where you can mingle with others:

• International Networking Breakfast: Thursday, April 24: 8 – 9 a.m. Meet and network with other international attendees at this complimentary breakfast. Space is limited and pre-registration is required when you register.

• ISA Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies: Friday, April 25: 4:30 – 6 p.m. Representatives from major US national sign companies can meet with custom sign company executives to discuss specific installation needs.

• Dynamic Digital and Integrated Design Reception: Thursday, April 24, 4– 5 p.m. in the Dynamic Digital Park, Booth 108. This invitation-only event will host integrators, end-users, suppliers, and distributors of interactive dynamic displays, as well as designers, specifiers, and architects.

Work Hard, Play Hard
Give your mind a break for a bit and get involved in some fun activities planned by ISA:

• The ISA/Southern States Sign Association Golf Tournament will be held at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Wednesday, 1 – 5 p.m.

• Network with other young professionals in the industry at the Young Professionals Happy Hour, Friday, April 25, 6 – 7 p.m. Wear your show badge and get discounted drinks at the cash bar.

• The show’s “Last Hour Happy Hour” will occur during the last hour of each day. Bars will be set up throughout the exhibit hall with free beer.

• There are two chances each day to win money via the Cash Grab Machine. Visit The Hub, Booth 1772, and drop off the ticket from your badge for a chance to enter. A winner will be drawn at random at noon and 2p.m. each day. Remember, you must be present to win.

Life’s a Beach
For many of you, the trip to Orlando may mean an extended vacation with your family (or possibly some extended R&R for yourself). It may also mean you’ve spent plenty of days at Disney and Universal Studio theme parks in the past, simply due to location. If you’re looking for something with a little more sun and sand, why not travel to the ocean? Here are the five closest beaches (within a 90-minute drive) from the Orange County Convention Center:

* Cocoa Beach: 1 hour and 2 min

* Daytona Beach: 1 hour and 9 min

* New Smyrna Beach: 1 hour and 9 min

* Canaveral National Seashore: 1 hour and 17 min

* Melbourne Beach: 1 hour and 17 min

Social Media
ISA’s social-media sites will keep you intrigued, involved, and informed before and during the show.

Twitter: @isasignexpo and #2014SignExpo

Facebook: ISA International Sign Expo

LinkedIn: International Sign Association (ISA)

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