I was pretty excited to find out on Tuesday (I was sworn to secrecy until the next day) that CEDIA was moving its annual EXPO convention back to Indianapolis in 2011. Hopefully by then the industry will be buzzing again and the energy that we all felt in earlier Indy years is there again.
Of course I have a selfish reason for appreciating the Indy move, because I live nearby in Carmel, Indiana. In prior years, I was still in NYC, and Indy was simply an excuse to visit family during an annual business trip. But in 2011 and 2012 the party can be at my house (everyone’s invited!)
I wrote in the past that I thought Atlanta would be a great host city for CEDIA, and I still think that city’s come a long way in developing its downtown area. What I didn’t realize, however, is that Atlanta just is not intimate enough for a show the size and style of CEDIA EXPO.
Interestingly, CEDIA’s COO Don Gilpin said to me a couple of years ago that CEDIA EXPO planners would never consider moving it to a Las Vegas or Orlando type of city, because there would be too many distractions and the show would lose its intimacy. I think he was right, and that we all missed the mark when we though Atlanta would work for EXPO.
Fortunately CEDIA took complaints from members and exhibitors to heart and cut short its stay in Atlanta by one year. Contracts being contracts, we’ll all have to tough it out one more year there in 2010, but many changes will be made to help create a more comfortable experience for us all.
According to CEDIA CEO Utz Baldwin, the show floor will be confined to one hall in 2010, instead of stretched out over two like it was this past September. That adjustment will save us a lot of foot pain and time and keep certain exhibitors from feeling like they’re stuck on the Island of Misfit Toys. Plus, we’ll all be more familiar with Atlanta’s restaurant and entertainment options after a year of feeling our way around under our belts. Overall, 2010 will be better, but we’ll all rest assured that the following year will be that much better.
Sadly it took a recession and our industry’s contraction to enable this one-hall solution and Indy move possible.
Two years ago CEDIA folks told me that even with its CEDIA EXPO-inspired convention center expansion (we left there when we outgrew the space, which prompted government officials to sell the idea of convention center expansion to voters), Indy was not big enough for CEDIA. That changed with the recession, when companies disappeared, exhibitors reduced their booth size or shared space, and attendance dropped. Also, Indy is expanding its convention center in the area once occupied by the RCA Dome and is building a huge JW Marriott across the street.
Denver was arguably the best host in the 20 years of CEDIA EXPO, but the Mile High City didn’t have the dates we needed for us this time around. There’s always 2013. Until then, we can all enjoy the comforts of home, I mean Indianapolis.