Perhaps you might want to think again.
If you’ve been to ConExpo in prior years and have already made your plans to attend this month’s event (March 22–26) then the rest of this editorial will be old hat. But for those who haven’t, allow me to suggest that you make up your mind and secure your reservations today rather than later when you may find yourself bedded down in Pahrump because everything else in Las Vegas is booked solid by your contemporaries.
What Makes This Such a Big Deal?
For starters it takes place only once every three years and is so large—nearly 2 million ft.2 of exhibit area—that after the exhibits fill the Las Vegas Convention Center to capacity, they spill out into the parking lot and across the street as well. In point of fact ConExpo 2011 will be the nation’s largest international construction exposition with more than 2000 exhibitors presenting their equipment, goods, materials, and services to more than 140,000 attendees…a whole lot of them people you will find yourself bidding against for the next three years.
Why are they there? Same reason you will…or should be. It’s where you have an unparalleled opportunity to rub elbows with your peers and see what the future holds in store.
For many of the exhibitors this is the biggest event on their calendar, and for some—among them the largest names in the industry—the clock for this show started ticking even before its 2008 predecessor packed up for a three-year nap. It is here that you can expect to see the wraps on all the new machinery come off and hear from the horses’ mouths what factors are going to affect if not actually drive your business over the next few years. Want to know what air-quality requirements are going to do to equipment costs and performance? What machine guidance and control systems have in store for your business? Here’s where you can get straight answers from the people whose livelihood depends on coming up with superior solutions. Indeed, there is no event in the nation that rivals ConExpo for chronicling change and setting the stage for what is to come in the industry.
Those of you who attended prior events will validate the enormous differences between them, especially in the area of technology. In 1999, laser and GPS systems and digital controls were “…way out there, baby,” and I have this enduring vision of a contractor who stopped by the booth and scoffed at the idea of “little toy joysticks” replacing levers in his machines. While I know and share some of his feelings for sturdy control mechanisms of a bygone era, I hope he’ll stop by our booth—C4946—to chat about his equipment these days.
You Ain't Seen Nothin’ Yet, Baby
I’m sure many of you were skeptical of some of the “gee Charlie whiz-bangs” that surfaced at ConExpo 2008—here I have in mind equipment and software modules that seemed too expensive and sophisticated for general acceptance—but if what you saw then got your juices flowing, it’s my belief that they will pale compared to what lies in store this year. It’s my bet that you’ll find that ConExpo 2011 will be an introduction to the technologies that will come to be essential elements in all your productivity, safety, and cost-containment activities. For instance, how much deeper into robotics are we likely to go? What advances in displays will we see? What kinds of productivity-enhancement tools and controls will be out there for you to play with? What innovations in communications, financing, bidding, project management, and enterprise systems will come to the fore. And, of course, what additions and refinements are the equipment manufacturers going to trot out?
Can You Afford to miss these and the thousands of other revelations? I’d say “no” but that’s just my opinion.