Trade Show TalesBlog

Tech Conferences & Trade Shows: An Exhibitor’s Guide

May 31st, 2024 COMMENTS
tech conferences

The impact of tech conferences and trade shows extends far beyond the attendees.  Businesses can leverage these events for networking, innovation showcases, and staying ahead in the competitive tech landscape. Trade show exhibits play a crucial role in these events, providing a platform for businesses to display their products and services.

Technology touches every industry, from medicine to insurance and from oil exploration to home appliances. While this article focuses on tech conferences, it’s important to remember that technology impacts everyone who participates in a conference or trade show. Not just IT or software or consumer electronics. 

The Rise of Tech Conferences and Trade Shows

Tech conferences and trade shows have always attracted crowds. And for good reason. They allow tech professionals to stay informed, network, and be part of an ever-changing landscape. The emergence of AI, for example, has accelerated the need to stay informed about the latest trends. Here are 4 reasons tech conferences continue to be popular:

  1. Evolving Tech: Technology is constantly evolving, and conferences offer a chance for professionals to stay current on the latest trends, tools, and innovations. Attending talks and workshops allows them to learn from industry experts and thought leaders. 
  2. Networking:  Tech conferences bring together people with similar interests and backgrounds. This creates a valuable space for professionals to connect, network, and build relationships. These connections can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and learning experiences.
  3. Innovation:  Conferences are frequently a launchpad for startups and new ideas.  Technology companies use them to showcase their products or services to a wider audience, potentially attracting customers and investors. Additionally, conferences feature talks and discussions on emerging technologies, which can spark inspiration for future innovations.
  4. Community:  Tech conferences aren’t all just lectures. Many offer interactive workshops, hackathons, and social events. These events build a sense of community within the tech industry.

In addition to technology companies, agencies have consistently had a presence at tech trade shows. For example, at Nvidia’s PPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA, several agencies attended and spoke about how the growth of AI could change the advertising industry. 

In an article from Digiday, Stepan Pretorius, CTO at WPP, said “the excitement with generative AI is an opportunity to partner more closely with tech providers to build proprietary tools that set each holding company apart from the competition…. With trends of AI, agencies have realized that they need to partner with foundational technology providers, whether that’s infrastructure or software or foundational model providers.

Emerging Trends from Tech Conferences 2023

By 2023, most Technology Conferences had fully recovered from the pandemic with both exhibitors and attendees returning in record numbers. It also meant that exhibitors were eager to show their latest and greatest products and hype them. The first group focuses on emerging trends not only at tech conferences but also at trade shows in general. The second group highlights trends specifically from tech conferences in 2023. 

General Tech Trends:

  • AI Integration: There’s a big push to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into all aspects of technology. This includes AI-powered features in video conferencing (backgrounds, noise cancellation, transcription), virtual assistants for event management, and even personalization of event experiences through mobile apps.
  • Immersive Technologies: Virtual Reality (VR) is being explored for creating more immersive meeting and conference experiences. Imagine feeling like you’re in the same room as colleagues across the globe! Augmented Reality (AR) is also on the rise, potentially adding a new dimension to product demonstrations or presentations.
  • Security and Privacy: As technology becomes more integrated into our lives, conferences are placing a strong emphasis on security and privacy features. This includes facial recognition for streamlined event security and data privacy measures to ensure user information is protected.
  • Hybrid and Virtual Events: The pandemic has normalized virtual and hybrid events. Conferences are looking at ways to improve the technology behind these formats, such as enhanced live streaming and more interactive features for remote attendees.
  • Sustainability: There’s a growing awareness of the environmental impact of technology. Conferences are exploring ways to make their events more sustainable, such as using eco-friendly materials and reducing paper waste.

These are just a few of the trends emerging from tech conferences. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovation in the years to come.

Tech Conference 2023 Trends:

  • The Rise of the “Phygital” Experience: We’ll see a continued focus on blending physical and digital experiences. This could involve using gamification elements in conferences to boost engagement, incorporating interactive AR experiences in booths, or offering virtual reality tours of new product launches.
  • Developer Relations: Conferences are increasingly catering to developers by offering workshops, hackathons, and dedicated networking events. This helps companies attract and retain top tech talent.
  • Democratization of Knowledge Sharing: There’s a move towards more open-source knowledge sharing at conferences. This could involve making presentations and talks readily available online or hosting workshops where attendees actively participate in problem-solving.
  • The Human Touch: While technology is taking center stage, there’s also a growing recognition of the importance of human connection at conferences. Expect to see more focus on fostering meaningful interactions, creating opportunities for collaboration, and promoting mental health and well-being for attendees.
  • Ethical Discussions Regarding Tech: Conferences are likely to delve deeper into the ethical implications of new technologies such as AI bias, data privacy concerns, and the impact of automation on jobs.
  • Bridging the Skills Gap: There’s a growing need for skilled tech workers. Conferences may offer workshops or training sessions aimed at helping attendees develop in-demand skills or learn about career paths in the tech industry.

These trends reflect not only the evolution of technology itself but also the changing needs and priorities of attendees and companies in the tech space.

Planning Ahead: Top 12 Tech Conferences 2024

These are just a few of the many great technology conferences that take place in North America and the World each year. Depending on your interests, there’s sure to be a conference out there that’s perfect for you.

#1. International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – Las Vegas, Nevada (January): This is the world’s biggest consumer electronics and technology trade show. It showcases the latest innovations in consumer electronics, including TVs, smartphones, appliances, and more.

#2. Mobile World Congress (MWC) – Barcelona, Spain (February): This event focuses on the mobile phone industry, with major phone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei showcasing their latest devices. It also covers other mobile technologies like 5G and mobile apps.

#3. South by Southwest (SXSW) – Austin, Texas (March): This massive event covers a wide range of topics, including technology, film, music, and education. It’s a great place to see the latest tech trends and hear from some of the biggest names in the industry.

#4. Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo – Various locations (throughout the year): This event is geared towards IT professionals and features keynotes, workshops, and exhibits on a variety of IT topics.

#5. RSA Conference – San Francisco, California (May): This is the world’s leading cybersecurity conference, where experts gather to discuss the latest threats and solutions.

#6. Computex Taipei – Taipei, Taiwan (May): While not in North America, this event focuses on computer hardware and components, and major North American manufacturers like Asus and Acer showcase their latest products here.

#7. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) – Los Angeles, California (June): This event is all about video games, with major game publishers like Sony and Microsoft announcing their latest games and consoles.

#8. National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) – Las Vegas, Nevada (April): This event focuses on the broadcast industry, with exhibits on everything from television production to radio broadcasting.

#9. Black Hat USA – Las Vegas, Nevada (August): This is one of the world’s premier cybersecurity conferences, focusing on offensive security techniques.

#10. AI & Big Data Expo North America – Various locations (throughout the year): This event focuses on artificial intelligence and big data, with presentations and exhibits from leading companies in these fields.

#11. IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) – Berlin, Germany (September): This event focuses on consumer electronics and home appliances, with major manufacturers like LG and Siemens showcasing their latest products.

#12. HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Conference & Exhibition – Orlando, Florida (April): This event focuses on healthcare IT and features exhibits from major healthcare technology companies.

Planning for Your Trade Show at Tech Shows

Whether you’re a novice to trade shows or a seasoned veteran to tech shows, the key to a successful tech trade show is simple: Planning, Preparation, and Execution. Which, to be honest, is a lot of work… and it should be. For many companies, their trade show expenses may represent as much as 30-40% of their entire marketing budget. So, doing it right is important. 

Don’t be shy about asking for assistance from a trade show professional before showing at tech shows.. If you’re working with an exhibit house, they’ll have a team eager to assist you with identifying your tech show goals, creating an actionable strategy, and executing it successfully.  

In the meantime, here are some articles to get you started: 

  • Trade Show Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide
    • Trade show planning is crucial for businesses to maximize their return on investment (ROI) or return on objectives (ROO). A clear and comprehensive plan ensures that companies maximize their sales opportunities while minimizing costs (and stress). 
  •  Your Guide to Designing a Custom Trade Show Booth
    • Forget about how your custom exhibit is going to be built or what materials will be used. Those details can come later. It’s all about the why, what, who at this point. On its most basic level, custom simply means that it’s custom or customized to your exhibit marketing needs.
  • Managing Your Trade Show Budget
    • There are multiple ways to manage your trade show expenses with a little planning and some assistance from an experienced trade show professional. Don’t be afraid to tap into that expertise. You’ll find that they want you to get the biggest bang for the buck and be wildly successful with your trade show marketing. 
  • Exhibition Design Essentials: Tips, Strategies, & More
    • Exhibition design doesn’t begin and end with money, mass, or even beauty. Knowing who you are, who your customers are, and what you’re trying to achieve will always give you an advantage. Award-winning exhibition design begins and ends with creating a valuable and memorable experience for attendees that goes well beyond a large hanging sign or colorful graphics. 

5 Examples of Tech Trade Show Booths

tech shows

VK-5198 | Island Exhibit: Exhibitors often feel they need an elaborate, all “bells and whistles” design, when a straightforward exhibit would be more appropriate. The VK-5198 is an excellent island design complete with large fabric graphics, high visibility, and practical accessories. 

tech trade shows

VK-5187 | Island Exhibit: The VK-5187 has multiple backlit double-sided towers connected to backlit single-sided canopies. Surrounding the towers/canopies are custom counters, genius bars, charging tables, and demo stations.

tech conferences 2023

GK-2988 | Gravitee Inline: The GK-2988 is a sophisticated modular design in three configurations, available for purchase or as a rental. It features clean, contemporary lines with storage, LED lighting, vibrant fabric graphics, monitor mount(s), and casual seating.

tech conferences 2024

RE-2128 | LED Lightbox: This rental design features three themes. Theme #1 — Elegant custom reception counter(s) with vinyl graphics, locking storage, and RGB Programmable LED accent lights. Theme #2 — Large LED lightboxes with tension fabric graphics. And Theme #3 — Multiple monitors for demos of products or services.

 tech trade show booths

ECO-4053 | Sustainable Backlit Island:  The ecoSmart Island Exhibits are design-driven, reconfigurable, and high-impact.  Many islands can easily be reconfigured into 10 x 10 or 10 x 20 displays for smaller shows.

Dominate Tech Conferences & Trade Shows with Classic Exhibits! 

You don’t have to be an exhibitor or a tech industry guru to attend tech conferences and trade shows. Tech conferences are ideal for exploring new ideas and sparking creative possibilities for any business. At Classic Exhibits, we design and build exhibits, large and small, for a wide range of industries. What we build for SEMA, the show for professionals in the auto aftermarket, may be relevant to Natural Products West, the trade show for natural or healthy products. 

For 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been designing and building creative custom solutions for our Distributor Partners and their clients. As North America’s largest private-label exhibit manufacturer, we have the unmatched capability, capacity, and creativity to create 3D projects ranging from 10 x 10 inline displays to 60 x 80 double-deck islands. Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.


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