Exhibitor Live is the premier trade show for trade show people in the US. Custom display builders from around the country push their designers to use the latest trends and technology to compete for best in class awards. Manufacturers of portables and service providers are also there to show off their latest innovations. And there are 100+ educational sessions for corporate show managers to learn new techniques from peers and industry experts. The Benchmark sales team attends the show each year to spot new trends and bring back the best new developments being offered.
The show was held in Vegas Feb 28-March 2. A real treat this year was the weather: high 70s and sunny for the time we were there. Talk about a welcome change for Chicagoans surviving in the late stages of winter! If you visit the exhibitor show website, scroll down the page. There is a quick information video about the show.
- Notiecable trends –Lightboxes : For the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of LED based light boxes appearing in booths. This year, in addition to more randomly placed boxes, there were a number of booths that were structurally based on backlit hardware.
SEG vs Pillowcase – These are the two most popular ways to create large graphic intensive custom booth structures. Both use fabric where graphics are needed. SEG (Silicone Edge Graphics) are single layer fabric sheets stretched into place by straight or curved aluminum extrusions. Pillowcase graphics are two layers, hemmed and zippered into place over articulated tube structures. This year’s show exhibits demonstrated a preference for the extrusion based SEG systems. It’s a safe bet that the lower costs of SEG design and production is why. SEG is also the basis of the new lightboxes mentioned previously. So it makes sense that when they anchor a booth, the rest of the booth would follow suit with similar structures. Here is an image of each type of structure for reference, i.e. Verizon is SEG extrusion and Sysmex is Pillowcase.
- Video walls : The costs are dropping (a little) and availability is increasing for video walls. They are built by tileing together modules approximately a square foot each. They were being used as large features of custom built booths to pump information to viewers.
Notable new –
Well, at least new for us, was this Indoor Waterfall – It got our award for being the most fun thing we saw. It’s a device that created a two story waterfall. So what, right? Well the water was released as good size individual droplets under digital control across a 4 foot span. As the droplets fell they formed a cascade that spelled words and created shapes, logos, and other art. The water was illuminated by powerful computer controlled RGB LED spotlights which could quickly change color. The water falls in front of an unlit black curtain. All together the waterfall became a colorful vertical display of eye-catching movement and branding that will make you smile if you see it. We were watching a single module. The guys can string a number of them together and create even more than what we saw. They have videos on their website. You’ll see dates going back 15 years. But as said – new to us. If you have a minute here’s the site : http://www.pevnickdesign.com/index.php
Portable Displays –
What was notable this year was the lack of things shown. Since the show is geared to showcase new innovations, it’s a reasonable conclusion that the void meant banner stands and pop-ups have pretty much settled in as mature products with little change.
There was one interesting new product. It was a portable lightbox. Available 3 foot, 6 foot, or 10 foot , and each about 7 foot tall. The light box is based on a popup frame. It uses curtain style LEDs to provide the back light and SEG style graphics to display the image. The concept for a backlit pop up isn’t new. There have been a number of other attempts to make such an item. But this version is the best we’ve seen so far because of the brightness of the image and ease of setup and dismantling. We’re taking a close look at carrying it although we haven’t made decisions yet and we weren’t able to get a decent picture of it. Let us know if you want some more information about it.
LED Standoffs –
These will make an interesting addition to our interior graphics arsenal. The good news is they are cool. The bad news is you have to add electrical to installs to make them work. The LEDs form a ring that blasts light into any acrylic sheet it holds. Any ground surface in the plex will light up while the rest of the polished surfaces will stay dark.