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Reflections On CEDIA Expo In Atlanta

CEDIA Expo concluded its first show in Atlanta last week with many key major suppliers, custom installers and retailers in attendance.I say that upfront because, as with any trade event I’ve ever covered, one of the top subjects is always attendance.

CEDIA reported that attendance was 20,000 for the show, 12 percent down from last year. It also reported that there were more than 400 exhibitors at this year’s event, including more than 70 new companies, compared to last year’s 500 exhibitors.

I don’t think any fair-minded person would, or should, hammer CEDIA for lower attendance when you consider the effects of the economy on this industry.

One top industry executive said to me last week about attending a show like CEDIA during this economic climate: “You have to be here to show the industry you are introducing new products and promoting. But you may take fewer people.”

I absolutely agree. From our vantage point, as I said earlier, most, if not all, the key players that have made CEDIA Expo what it is over the years attended.

They had plenty things to present, if they were suppliers, and discuss, whether they were manufacturers, custom installers, distributors or retailers, so CEDIA said in its post-show press release that “energy on the floor” was high without risking hyperbole. Just click here to our CEDIA Expo page if you doubt it.

Now, as for the Georgia World Congress Center, it was my first visit to that facility. All I can say is that it is big – really, really big. I’m no trade show expert, but maybe all the exhibitors should have been put in one of the massive halls of the facility so attendees and exhibitors could have more easily seen each other, but that maybe a minor quibble.

Walking around the facility looked so big to me that I felt that if Las Vegas ever gives International CES trouble, CEA could turn to Atlanta.

I was reminded during CEDIA Expo of what the legendary Jack Wayman, founder of the Consumer Electronics Show, once told me about attending trade shows during a recession as only he can: “I always say the best time to go to a trade show is during a recession. You go to see if the industry you’re in is still alive and to see if your company is still alive!”

In this case CEDIA Expo proved to many that, yes, the industry is still alive and many of its top companies are still around, battling to do business.