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CEDIA Forecasts Growth For Expo 2001

The economy might be as flat in September as the Midwest terrain, but everything else at Expo 2001 will be up — attendance, the exhibitor count, the number of seminars and the display space.

The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) expects attendance at the Sept. 5-9 event here to hit around 17,000, up from last year’s 15,125. The number of exhibitors will hit 383, up from last year’s 351, and exhibit space will fill about 395,500 square feet, up from last year’s 300,000, the association said. An additional 8,000 square feet of exhibit space has been set aside for Installer Olympics competitions in the RCA Dome.

Even though CEDIA will regain use this year of the RCA Dome, which is attached to the Indianapolis Convention Center, 32 suppliers are on a waiting list, said Expo manager Don Gilpin. The space squeeze should ease next year, when the event moves for one year to the Minneapolis Convention Center, where 500,000 square feet of exhibit space is available, compared to 403,000 in the newly expanded Convention Center/Dome complex, he said.

“We’ll market all 500,000 square feet,” Gilpin said. “We hope to satisfy all comers” in Minneapolis, he said, but it’s not certain whether CEDIA will be able to sell all the available space, he noted.

If CEDIA attracts more exhibitors in 2002, hotel space could be even tighter than it has been for the Indianapolis events. The number of hotel rooms in Indianapolis and Minneapolis are comparable, CEDIA said.

In 2003, Expo will return for three years to Indianapolis as part of a multiyear contract. Beyond that, Gilpin said, “We’re looking at sites yet for 2006, ’07 and ’08.”

Tradeshow Week ranked the event as the 163rd largest trade show in the United States.

As part of this year’s event, Ferrari North America president Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni will deliver the keynote speech, which will focus on how to develop luxury-product marketing strategies, the association said.

In line with the show floor expansion, CEDIA will expand the number of seminar topics to 150 in 240 sessions and 10 tracks, compared to last year’s 108 topics, which was made possible by convention center expansion that opened up additional seminar space, Gilpin said.

As it did last year, the association will increase the number of seminar topics devoted to sales, marketing and entrepreneurial issues, continuing a growing Expo focus on management topics to balance the technical topics that dominated the seminar series until last year.

For the first time, CEDIA will also host all-day seminars. One is a preparatory class for taking the Installer Level 1 certification test. The second prepares attendees for the Level II exam. The third will feature speaker sales and marketing consultant and author Werner Berger, who has spoken at previous (PARA Professional Audio/Video Retailers Association) conferences.

Manufacturer product training will also be part of the educational program.

CEDIA’s own closed-circuit TV show will also take on a greater educational role at this year’s show. The show, broadcast to hotel rooms and convention-center monitors, will be hosted on a raised platform with seating for a small audience, Gilpin explained. There, besides the usual guest interviews, CEDIA will host panel discussions that will include questions from the audience. The location will be near the registration area.

In previous years, CEDIA hosted the TV show behind closed doors in the association’s House of Electronic Lifestyles display, which demonstrates a fully automated home to builders, architects and other tradespeople who can form marketing partnerships with custom installers.

For the first time at a CEDIA Expo, the walled-in display will be open to show attendees so they can see what CEDIA is doing to create awareness of the custom industry, Gilpin said.

Other changes at the show include the exhibitors themselves. Seventy-five companies exhibiting this year didn’t exhibit last year, and most of them are first-time Expo exhibitors, Gilpin said. They include furniture maker Wood Technology, under-cabinet LCD-TV maker Ice Box, and Net TV, whose product was shown last year in the closed Electronic Lifestyles exhibit.

Microsoft, a newcomer last year, will return.

As previously announced, a Bonnie Raitt concert will replace the traditional banquet at the Electronic Lifestyles Awards ceremony, and the John Cleary band will perform before. Concert proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

CEDIA will also host its first-ever Installer Olympics, which will include such events as a video-calibration and a wire-fishing test.