SGIA Expo 2012 To-Do List

Make the most of your tradeshow experience while in Las Vegas.

Big Picture

Back in Vegas after last year’s New Orleans soirée, the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) will take over Sin City in 2012 with its annual SGIA Expo, held October 18–20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With its array of strategic networking opportunities, laundry list of educational seminars, and expanded roster of sales-free Expert Zones on the show floor, SGIA Expo is marketing this year’s happening as the “specialty imaging industry’s most indulgent event.” And at the forefront of this year’s expo: wide-format technologies.

“Today, wide-format is the cornerstone of the SGIA Expo,” says Michael Robertson, president and CEO of SGIA. The expo will serve as a key resource for maximizing large-format graphics production as a revenue stream, he continues: “Exhibitors bring everything from the most advanced wide-format digital imaging solutions to basic entry-level solutions. Attendees will walk the floor and see diverse media running through roll-to-roll devices, ideas for new products, and opportunities to add support for existing customers.”

Whether you’ve already registered for the event, or you’re still in the midst of making the decision to head to SGIA 2012, here are eight “to-do’s” covering all of the SGIA bases to prepare you to make the most of your expo experience. We’ve provided the basics, ranging from educational offers to pricing information and everything in between. See you there!

1. Get Your Hands on Technology Choices Aplenty
More than 18,000 attendees are expected to check out the 500 exhibitors who will showcase their wares on the massive show floor. The latest technologies in wide-format, graphic applications, installation, garment decoration, screen, and digital will be on display – forecasting the trends for the year ahead.

“The wide-format industry has become about choices – let’s call them opportunities. On the trade show floor, the number of choices will be staggering,” says Dan Marx, SGIA’s vice president markets and technologies. “While we will see introductions of new wide-format inkjet equipment, we’ll also see a wide range of introductions addressing the materials used by graphics producers, and the many sub-steps they use to turn the print into a final product. Finishing technologies continue to be of great interest to print providers, as are solutions that increase efficiency and lower the cost of doing business.”

If you are planning on shopping for equipment at the show, you likely won’t be alone, by the way. In its new “SGIA Industry Pulse: Benchmarking Report,” nearly 72 percent of survey respondents indicated they planned to purchase equipment utilized directly in the manufacturing process in the next 12 months. (The full report is available free of charge to SGIA members only.)

To peruse the show’s complete and updated exhibitor list and plot your “must sees,” check out sgia.org.

2. Mark Your Calendars
Show hours are:
Thursday, October 18: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, October 19: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 20: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Entrance into the Expo is free if you’re registered prior to October 18; it’s $35 after that date. Full business registration includes a seminar pass to allow you entrance to all regular seminars October 18-19, the Friday Keynote Session, the Friday Night Dinner Party, entrance to the Exposition & Golden Image Gallery for $435 ($360 for SGIA members).

To receive discounted rates on hotels, contact SGIA’s official housing partner – Travel Planners –via the SGIA website (sgia.org).

3. Interact with Experts
While tradeshows guarantee the inevitable storm of sales pitches, SGIA offers a bit of peace and quiet with its “Expert Advice Zones” – specially purposed expo-floor areas devoid of hard-sell tactics, allowing for hands-on experience in a no-pressure environment. Since making their debut in 2007, the zones have increased from one to five in order to better serve the ever-diversifying industry.

New to this year’s event: the Color Management Zone, which will host top color-management professionals to help attendees learn about tools and techniques, as well as RIP and third-party software solutions, expand their capabilities, and develop new relationships.

Returning zones include: The Digital Apparel Production Zone; the PDAA Graphics Application Zone; the Digital Signage Zone; the Screen Printed Apparel Training Zone; the Industrial Imaging Zone; and the Narrow Format Zone. All zones feature demonstrations of its sectors’ latest advancements.

“Many of the Zones will feature short educational presentations designed to help attendees clarify questions for exhibitors and fine-tune the decision-making process,” says Robertson.

3. Make a Friend or Two
While checking out the latest trends on the show floor is important, be sure to take time to engage with industry peers. SGIA’s Networking Happy Hour offers individual community-building receptions for specific industry segments on Thursday, October 18, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. The free receptions are invitation-only; industry segments include: PDAA, Latin American, Garment Decoration, Canadian, Pro Imaging Golf Championship Reception, and Printed Electronics and Industrial Imaging communities.

The Friday Night Awards Party honors the best-of-the-best in the industry, while allowing attendees to connect with colleagues, new business contacts, and new prospective customers over dinner and cocktails.

Adding to the networking opps: This year’s keynote speaker, Todd Cohen, will discuss “Sales and More Sales for Specialty Imaging,” during the Keynote Breakfast, Friday, October 19, at 8:30 a.m. Cohen – the author of Everyone’s In Sales and the host of “Let’s Talk Sales Culture” on BlogTalkRadio – has coached and led sales teams to deliver more than $500 million in revenue for companies such as Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis.

4. Take Time to Learn
In addition to showcasing a broad range of technology and applications, SGIA Expo offers focused educational sessions featuring an assorted mix of topics to meet the needs of your business. More than 30 seminars in all are available to help you expand your knowledge base.
“Between our high-level educational seminars and numerous presentations taking place in the Expert Advice Zones, the 2012 SGIA Expo offers more than 100 unique learning opportunities. One of the most exciting sessions taking place is a discussion panel with representatives from some of the biggest wide-format equipment manufacturers, which will provide a valuable look into the factors and market pressures affecting wide-format equipment design. We also have sessions covering online marketing, the print buyer community, color management, new materials and technologies, and more,” says Marx.
Educational seminar tracks include: Graphics & Sign; Garment Decoration; Industrial Imaging; Graphics Installers; and Business Management. Here’s just a sampling of the specific educational seminar opportunities you’ll find:

• “Directions in Wide-Format Equipment Development”
• “Understanding Today's Print Buyer”
• “Identifying and Reaching the New Consumer for the Graphic Communications Marketplace”
• “Make Your Wide-Format Digital Printer Last”
• “Capitalizing on Sustainability”
• “UV LED Curing for Digital and Screen Printing”
• “New Revenue Opportunities for Wide-Format Digital”

Registration fee for individual seminars is $45 each (SGIA members receive a discount); discount packages are available for multiple sessions.

5. Explore the Extras
In an effort to bring attendees the full scope of the marketplace, the photo imaging and the printed electronics and membrane-switch community will be joining SGIA this year.

On the eve of the expo, the all-day “International Business Forum – Americas: Profitable Photo Opportunities” will explore the ways photo businesses, print-service providers, and specialty-graphics providers can create new business opportunities in the professional and consumer photography markets with personalized photo products. As the photo-imaging markets continue to evolve toward customization and personalization of output, the opportunity for print service providers to expand their product palette is flourishing. Graphics providers have an opportunity to expand their traditional B2B businesses into higher margin B2B2C or even B2C models, according to SGIA.

Also, the Printed Electronics & Membrane Switch Symposium will coincide with the SGIA Expo for the first time. The two-day event, October 18-19, will feature an in-depth educational program focusing on good manufacturing practices, through-hole printing, capacitive touch keypads, imaging techniques for electronics, printed batteries, UV-LED curing, solar cells, and inkjet inroads in printed electronics.

7. Participate in Competitions
During the expo, SGIA offers several prestigious awards to the top graphics work and technologies in the industry. Its Golden Image Awards Competition recognizes innovative output in the digital and screen-printing marketplace. Each entry is judged based on its perceived value to the digital-imaging community by a team of industry professionals during the expo.

All entries will be showcased in the gallery October 18-19, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on October 20 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Every entrant will be considered for "Best in Show" (digital and screen printing categories), and for “Best in Creativity” (digital printing only).

The entry deadline for the Golden Image Awards is October 5. SGIA printer members receive one free entry, and additional entries are $30 each. Learn more about the competition and enter online here: sgia.org/members/events/goldenimage_competition.

Last year's highest honors were given to select winning entries, including:
• Best of Show Graphics: “Inmold Capacitive Touch with LED’s Control Panel,” Canyon Graphics Corporation
• Best of Show Garments: “”Man View Change,” Tarun Print Tech
• People's Choice Award: “Ten Bridges” by Kolibri Art Studio

The association also awards “Product of the Year” recognition, for quality digital equipment and supplies that are advancing the specialty imaging industry. Competition entrants must be SGIA member exhibitors with products currently available. Each entry is judged based on its perceived value to the digital-imaging community.

Student work is also honored at the show via the Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition. Acknowledging students’ innovative imaging work from secondary and post-secondary schools, the competition honors the former editor of Screen Printing magazine, Tom Frecska, who passed away in 2009. The competition, sponsored by the Academy of Screen Printing Technology, includes 24 categories and two divisions: secondary and post-secondary schools. Students can enter as individuals or teams; all work must be produced within the 2011-2012 school year. First-place winners will be recognized in each category. Two entires will be honored with the Best in Show award and receive an ASPT Achievement Award as well as a $500 graphic-arts education scholarship. Instructors will also receive $500 to use toward the school’s graphic arts educational program.

8. Join the Online Convo
If you’d like to follow the latest happenings regarding SGIA Expo and its exhibitors, or voice out about seminar topics or new products, then the SGIA social-media sites are for you:

Twitter: @SGIAExpo and #sgiaexpo
Blogger: SGIA.org/wordpress
Linkedin: SGIA


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