Trade Shows Part 2

6 02 2012

Since my last post, I’ve had a couple people request more info on what trade shows I like and for what reasons.  This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch, but these are some of what I consider the most beneficial shows and hopefully it will help you pick a trade show that will give you a chance to connect with other church techs while learning something helpful to what you are doing.

National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) – April in Las Vegas, NV
This is one of the biggest trade shows and features more video than any church can ever use.  While there is some audio and lighting gear, video is really the big focus at this show.  You should be able to get into the trade show for free, but the classes will cost you extra.
Pros: There is a lot of gear and a lot of people at this show.  You will get a chance to meet some incredible people and get your hands on lots of gear.  If you’re looking to make some significant video purchases, you should definitely attend this show.
Cons: It is a huge show which means it’s easy to get lost and not talk to anyone who does what you do.  You have to be intentional and deliberate to make connections.

InfoComm – Alternates site, June in Las Vegas, NV for 2012
InfoComm is a good, all around trade show involving audio, lighting and some video.  If you’re looking for a well balanced variety of gear, this is a good show to start with.  Just like NAB, you should be able to get onto the trade show floor for free with advanced registration, but the classes will cost you extra.
Pros: This show is a much more manageable size but also still has lots of great people to connect with.  It’s easy to both get your hands on lots of great gear and connect with manufacturer reps and other church tech people.  I find that I run into fellow church techs regularly while walking the InfoComm show floor.
Cons: Because the show is well rounded in it’s gear inclusion, it’s not exhaustive.  While you can get your hands on a lot of gear, it my not be the place to do an exhaustive search on what you are looking for.

LDI – Alternates sites, Late Fall/Early Winter in Las Vegas for 2012
If you are a lighting, staging or stage design person, LDI is a great show for you.  One of the only shows dedicated to lighting, LDI isn’t a huge show but it packs a good punch with what’s new in lighting and staging.  Once again, the trade show can be attended for free but the classes require paid registration.
Pros: You get a chance to see everything that’s new in the lighting world, from the cheaper DJ stuff to the higher end professional gear.  It’s also not a huge show so you can get a chance to talk to lots of great lighting people.
Cons: It’s pretty much about lighting, so if lighting is not your thing, this is probably not the right show for you to go to.

Worship Facilities Expo (WFX) – Alternates sites, September in Atlanta, GA for 2012
This is one of the biggest church focused trade shows and does a decent job blending the opportunity to get your hands on solutions for worship technology with opportunities to learn from and connect with other church tech leaders.  While you can get onto the trade show floor for free, the classes do require a paid registration.
Pros: No other show brings so many of today’s church technical leaders, and there are many opportunities to connect with and learn from each other.  In addition, unlike most of the other trade shows, WFX has numerous training classes focused on more than just showing you gear, but teaching you how to get the most out of gear for ministry.  WFX also has the Tech Director Retreat, a day of encouraging and training for Church Tech Leaders.
Cons: It is a smaller show so the trade show part isn’t big and there usually isn’t much that is new.  Also, being a younger conference, they are still growing and developing the event to make it better.

Guru’s of Tech Willow Creek – May in Crystal Lake, IL
After last year’s inaugural event, I have high expectations for this year’s Guru’s of Tech event.  While there are multiple Guru’s events, the willow Creek team put on a great event last year and the classes were excellent.  Not only that, but it’s a church tech only event and you’ll have opportunities to meet, chat and worship with many folks doing what you are doing.  Best of all, the event, including classes, is free.
Pros: Guru’s of Tech Willow Creek features fantastic classes and many great tech leaders ready to invest in you.
Cons: While there was a little gear to look at last year, this is not a trade show so don’t expect a lot of gear.

Have questions about these or other shows, please comment below or shoot me an email.

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