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May 2, 2008

Will there still be exhibitions in five years?

The AEO Annual Conference, 7 September at the Brewery? What a waste of a good venue. I’m sure I must be washing my hair that day – and check out my photo! But can it really be as boring as it sounds? And if not, what possible relevance can it have for corporates?

But wait a minute – half the speakers have nothing to do with the exhibition industry. Three are futurologists, while there’s also someone from top media agency MediaCom, as well as a guy from O2, and I don’t think he’s there selling mobiles – am I missing something?

“Although obviously it’s for AEO members and external companies can’t attend, they can arrange to speak,” says AEO group chief executive Trevor Foley, who actually sounds a lot more interesting that you might expect. “Every year we have the same aims: education, networking and fun – which should be a part of every event!”

Okay, so the non-exhibition types have snuck in just for the party at the end? That must be some do! Perhaps the press pass was worth it after all.

“I’m sure everyone will have a good time, but the futurologists are the key to this year’s theme, as they’ll be helping us to accurately assess where the industry will be in five years. Meanwhile, our friends from MediaCom and O2 will be there to give key comments related not just to exhibitions, but also to live marketing in general,” answers Foley. “We want to know what companies think about our industry, so we can move forward with confidence.

“There should certainly be a lot to report on that could prove both interesting and instructive for companies that use exhibitions and events,” he continues. “Where exhibitions will be in five years is vital information for any company that currently attends or exhibits at an event, or is considering doing so. What’s more, O2’s Paul Samuels has some very forthright views about exhibitions, while Matthew Mee’s company MediaCom is getting increasingly involved in live events, traditionally not its area at all, so it will be fascinating to find out why.”

And there’s a party… I’ll think I’ll be there after all.

Furthermore, as we don’t have to wait to be printed, EVENTS:review will bring you any relevant comments and happenings sooner than anyone else.

• The AEO Conference is being held at the Brewery in London on 7 September, kicking off at 8am. You can find out more at www.aeo.org.uk

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