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Winners of TSE Innovation Awards Selected in Brisk Voting


Oceanside, CA – There is always something new around the corner, and the voting in the 2013 Trade Show Executive (TSE) Readers’ Choice Innovation Awards showed that the leaders of the exhibition industry have their collective eyes open in the hunt for the next big thing.

The organizers of Natural Products Expo and Cosmoprof North America walked away with top awards in the two show organizer categories.  Arnie Roberts, president and CEO of SMART-reg International, sometimes called a “serial launcher“ of new products during his 30+ year career, was voted “The Most Innovative Individual in the Trade Show Industry.”

Freeman took two First Place Awards back to Dallas, and Global Experience Specialists (GES), Passkey International and the Colorado Convention Center also won top awards.  [See details below].

Nearly 1,900 TSE readers cast online ballots for the newest technologies and ideas that they felt would make the organizing and management of trade shows a little easier, or possibly usher in a breakthrough that would ripple throughout the industry. Voting continued steadily from July 8 to the last day – July 23 — and right up to the midnight deadline.

“Show organizers are always on the lookout for something that will improve their own efficiency and effectiveness, and that which will translate into a better experience for their exhibitors and attendees,” said Darlene Gudea, president of Trade Show Executive Media Group. “The fact that so many industry executives took the time to carefully scrutinize the latest innovations reflects their keen interest in pushing boundaries and discovering new ideas and processes to keep their shows fresh and exciting,”

Some of the winners will be present at the TSE Gold 100 Awards & Summit on September 18-20 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA.

This was the second year in the 11-year TSE Innovation Awards program that the voting was open to TSE readers to get a global perspective. And the voting was brisk among the 35 products, venues and individuals nominated in eight different categories. Ballots were cast online through the TSE website. The system limited voters to a single ballot.

The winners are outlined in the August issue of TSE which is sent to 5,000 BPA-audited subscribers; emailed to 8,200+ worldwide subscribers to TSE’s E-Clips Breaking News; and distributed at the Society of Independent Show Organizers Executive Conference August 6-8 in Washington DCThe entries were selected from nominations by show organizers, technology suppliers, convention centers and destination marketing organizations.

“There was good representation of different companies, venues and people in this year’s Innovation Awards,” Gudea said. “The fact there was also a large turnout of voters proved that innovation is alive and well in the trade show industry and is bringing fresh ideas and exciting new products to the market on a regular basis. We want to congratulate and thank everyone who created these innovations, and their colleagues who validated their ideas by casting ballots this year.”


The Eight Leading Innovators in Trade Show Industry

The trade show industry has spoken!

Readers of Trade Show Executive have voted for the winners of the best new technologies, strategies and leaders in the exhibition industry in TSE’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. These companies, convention centers and individuals have been determined by their peers to be the likely game changers in the rapidly evolving industry.

The winners are:

Most Innovative Tech Initiative Serving Show Managers: ethnoMetrics Attendee Tracking Software. ethnoMetrics, a division of Global Experience Specialists (GES), uses smart phone Wi-Fi tracking technology to monitor the traffic flow in the exhibit hall. The result is better analysis on what booths attendees are visiting and which areas of the hall are the most productive.

Most Innovative Tech Initiative Serving Exhibitors: Freeman Technology Suite by Freeman. The Freeman Technology Suite is an integrated technology platform that unites six different applications, from virtual tours of venues to online planning and ordering tools. This streamlines exhibitors’ planning and logistics chores, leaving them with more time to devote to their customers.

Most Innovative Technology Serving Show Managers, Exhibitors & Attendees: Passkey International Hotel Booking Engine and Website. Passkey is expanding as a company, but is making the booking process for large groups of frequent travelers more compact. Their booking engine includes several innovations, including a visually compelling “showcase” page that conveys to attendees that low show rates are not available through public booking channels. It also offers event organizers a tool for revenue generation beyond their room block.

Most Innovative Green Initiative by a Service Provider:  Freeman.Freeman is dedicated to a wide-ranging program to lessen the environmental impact of trade shows and events that draw big crowds, use a lot of energy, and generate a large volume of trash and other waste. Freeman’s sustainability effort, called “The Las Vegas Model,” diverted 95% of all waste from its branch away from landfills and is experimenting with plastics for exhibit shelving made from cigarette butts.

Most Innovative Green Initiative by a Convention Center:  The Colorado Convention Center, managed by SMG.  Denver’s convention center was the first convention center to earn certification for the ASTM/APEX Sustainable Meeting Standard for a Venue. The center diverted 57% of its waste into the recycling chain and reduced its power consumption with new lighting and other equipment.

Most Innovative Green Initiatives by Show Management: Natural Products Expo. New Hope Media’s Natural Products Expo teamed up with Global Experience Specialists (GES)  to create an exhibit floor covering one million gross square feet with recycled carpet and other sustainable materials. Some of the many other sustainable initiatives include a break from the use of plastics  —   structural panels were 100% eco-wood and tabletops were made from cornstarch.

Most Innovative Organization in the Trade Show Industry: Cosmoprof North America. Cosmoprof North America implemented a business plan that was heavy on technology and forward-looking educational content for beauty salon operators to take their business to the next level. Show management introduced an exciting new customized sampling concept on the show floor and the  first “TV Shopping Open-See” with home shopping channels such as QVC, HSN and The Shopping Channel hosting live auditions.

Most Innovative Individual in the Trade Show Industry: Arnie Roberts, president and CEO of SMART-reg International.  Arnie Roberts was voted the “Launch King” for his numerous innovations in registration, lead management, revenue tracking and exhibitor/attendee interaction.  Some of his many innovations include SMART-Alec ™ Name Badge Reader, Tap-N-Go, It’s All in the Badge, and SMART Connect Facebook Share Station & Photo Spots. Sometimes quirky and always unconventional, Arnie was described as one of the most innovative minds in the trade show industry.


[Click here for the digital August issue of TSE to see all the winners and runners-up.]

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