by Sarah J.F. Braley | November 01, 2006

Consumer Electronics Show


Full house:
The Consumer Electronics Show
draws the masses.

Consumer Electronics Show

Using the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, and exhibition space at the Venetian and the Las Vegas Hilton, the January 2006 show attracted 152,203 people who had to navigate more than 1.6 million square feet of show floor set up by more than 2,700 exhibiting companies.

Before the show. Introduced last year was MyCES, an online show planner from BDMetrics of Baltimore. Through MyCES, attendees can find exhibitors, products, sessions and other attendees, and can set up appointments.

One of the most interesting elements is the attendee justification report. After narrowing what they are looking for at the show, attendees review a report that lists the top 10 people they need to meet, the top 10 exhibitors they need to see, their peers’ top 10 search terms and more. The report is updated constantly.

Badges. Attendees carry just a paper badge and a magnetic-stripe card, used on the show floor and to monitor who is allowed into a session.

A small RFID experiment will take place in January at the next CES for the CE Platinum Club program. About 100 high-level attendees will use the RFID tags to access restricted areas, such as a special lounge and a VIP luncheon.

“Our long-term goal is to take RFID show-wide,” says Kelly Ricker, CMP, senior director of conferences for the CEA. “But it’s a logistical problem when you are producing a total of about 250,000 badges, and only 150,000 get used.”

Lead retrieval. As with CONEXPO, Experient markets all of its scanning devices to the CES’s exhibitors.

Social networking. Through MyCES, attendees can find each other and arrange to meet at the show. The system can match attendees with others who share the same job and expertise.

MAGIC Marketplace


Material world: Perusing fashion’s finest at the MAGIC Marketplace in August

MAGIC Marketplace

Using 1.1 million square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center, this twice-yearly fashion show welcomed about 115,000 attendees from Aug. 28-31 to view pieces from 3,500 men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories companies. Registration and lead retrieval are handled by ShowCare of Toronto.

Before the show. A full exhibitor listing is available online, with a sophisticated search tool allowing attendees to locate exhibitors based on brands and products, but digital interaction still is minimal. Online and during the Marketplace, Sourcing at MAGIC connects sourcing and supply-chain companies with product development, merchandising and design teams. Any matchmaking that occurs before the show, however, is handled by the event team. “They have a keen understanding of our exhibitor base,” says Chris McCabe, vice president and general manager of MAGIC International, based in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Badges. Paper with bar codes. “We have no current plans to use RFID,” says McCabe.

Lead retrieval. Exhibitors have a choice of ShowCare’s basic ShowLead, ShowLead Plus and ShowLead Mobile. All offer no-touch badge scanning and import capabilities to popular database programs. ShowLead Plus adds the ability to delineate sales action codes for quickly assigning sales reps to leads; Mobile comes with a handheld device with a note-taking element.

NAB 2006


Old-fashioned networking:
The National Association
of Broadcasters show


Using 806,000 square feet of exhibit space, this show, put on by the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Broadcasters, attracted 105,046 people to Las Vegas April 22-27, 2006.

Before the show. As with CES, BDMetrics provides personal show portals for attendees through the MyNABShow feature, for scheduling and networking purposes. Last year, BDMetrics took over the hosting of the exhibitor listing.

Badges. Paper and a mag-stripe card. “RFID is still pretty expensive,” says Justine McVaney, vice president of operations and customer relations for the association. She would like to implement RFID for gathering more information about who attends the 300-plus sessions.

Lead retrieval. Experient has been NAB’s provider for more than 10 years, marketing to the more than 1,400 exhibitors. “They’re challenged with a show like ours, where they need to offer options to small exhibitors and much larger ones,” says McVaney.

Social networking. MyNABShow works well to get attendees together. McVaney calls the service the product/people/session locator. However, only about 60 percent of the participants use it. “The average attendee uses our website to find exhibitors and uses the floor plan to map where they’re going,” says McVaney. “The above-average attendee is going to use MyNABShow to justify going to the event. It also helps them find the needle in the haystack and use their time wisely.”

After the show, the NAB analyzes BDMetrics’ data to refine the demographic questions that are asked of potential attendees. “We’ll note how many people looked for a certain exhibitor, or that we had so many people with a certain job description,” explains McVaney. “That shows us we need more products or exhibitors for that group for next year’s show.”