ITEX Marks 15 Year Milestone3 Mar, 2015 By: Sand Sinclair, ITEX Conference Director
The annual ITEX Expo & Conference is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. Discussing a prominent 15-year time span has the feel of “Back to the Future” or “From Then to Now.” Yet taking a walk down “memory lane” isn’t only about the success of a leading expo but a salute to the industry’s supporters who have helped make ITEX one of the largest and longest running document-centric events in the "dealer channel."
Interactive and engaged industry participants, year after year, remain the springboard for the ongoing success of ITEX. Couple that with event management who create and deliver and you’ll prime the pump for quality education and an arsenal of exhibitors for attendees to prosper from.
ITEX credits many in the office industry who have shared in bringing credible solutions to enhance the dealer experience at the show. This includes members of the past and present ITEX-imageSource Advisory Council (IIAC), where council members’ collective experience as well as individually have been instrumental in validating conference education and presenters, along with reviews on Perfect Image Award recipients. In order to deliver a venue that brings knowledge and value to those that attend, speak, exhibit, and sponsor, it “takes a village.”
Through the years, ITEX has rotated to various Las Vegas hotels on the strip. The Hilton Flamingo, the Aladdin, Planet Hollywood, The Mirage, The Rio. In 2015, ITEX heads to the Sunshine State of Florida, a desired destination, and to allow those in the east an opportunity to attend ITEX closer to home. Befittingly, the founder of ITEX originated the show from his Ft. Lauderdale, Florida office 15 years ago, so this year’s anniversary is a homecoming indeed.
In the beginning…
Though ITEX was acquired by Questex LLC in 2007, it was founded by the genius of Marc Spring, the Florida-based president of Copylite and Evolved Office. Spring remembers the formative days of ITEX like it was yesterday. Currently on the ITEX Advisory Council, he sheds light on the “formative days.”
imageSource (IS): Where was the first ITEX show held?
Marc Spring: The Tropicana, in Las Vegas.
IS: How many exhibitors? How many attended?
Spring: For our first show, we had about 70 vendors and 600 attendees.
IS: Why did you decide to create an expo?
Spring: The industry did not have an independent show…lots of dealer events, but there wasn’t anywhere (for them) to learn about what the future looked like; how to thrive. In those days, the BTA show had light attendance…I felt we had the vehicle to drive the traffic; had tried to partner with them, but we were turned down.
IS: Did you align with any office association or groups back then?
Spring: In the first few years, we had to create some credibility; then we came up with the concept of getting other shows and groups to collocate with us…dealers were going to so many events it just worked out well to have others host their events with us; they got better turnout and so did we.
IS: Who were your first big OEM exhibitors?
Spring: HP and Xerox. I gave them each a booth for free and told them that if they thought it was worth their while, afterward they should pay me. They both paid…and stayed for many years.
IS: Who influenced you on widening the scope of ITEX?
Spring: In the beginning, the show was very toner and parts-centric. Then a good friend of mine introduced me to Sheldon Adelson. Yes, that Sheldon Adelson, the one who owns the Venetian. He also was the person who started COMDEX…probably the most successful trade show in our history. He said to me, and I quote, “How many ‘friggin’ toner guys can I buy from? You have to diversify. You have to be on the leading edge.” So that is what we did. We made the show about the ‘future of office technology.’ We didn’t just say the word ‘convergence’ like everyone else …we led the convergence.
IS: ITEX is at the forefront in delivering information to meet the needs of the channel.
Spring: I see the need for more and more convergence. The managed IT portion, 3-D printing, more on wide format, going after mailing solutions; adding anything that is networked into the office. ITEX is where you’ll find this info.
IS: ITEX has outlasted other shows/groups. Why do you think this is?
Spring: Because its core focus is on the dealers, and caring about the future of the industry. You need to lead the industry and be a proponent of growth …of dealers moving outside of their comfort zone. Businesses are a moving target today and if you don’t move forward you will step backward.
The first five years of ITEX unfolded with noticeable growth, interest and excitement, the kind of intrigue that a “new show” brings, and one that dealers could sink their teeth into. From 2000 to 2005, the education component grew larger, the exhibit floor flourished, and the attendee numbers increased. ITEX was on the map as the annual not-to-be-missed event for the dealer channel. Dealer Associations and buying groups became active partners and sponsors, and the list of OEMs and vendors grew. The “golden years” had begun.
Fast forward to 2006. ITEX is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The expo covered all aspects of the imaging/document solutions marketplace for copying and printing, hardware parts and supplies, and true to form, offered the largest amount of peer-led education around. The expansive exhibit floor peaked at 200+ vendors; mergers and acquisitions weren’t yet the trend. There was a strong focus on “new technologies” emerging, and “connectivity” was the buzz word; the “digital component” was growing.
2006 had a creative marketing campaign with ads and postcards on the ITEX “I-Team” - a cast of cartoon characters represented a dealer’s staff: DocVar, Ms. Giga, Sir Viss, and P.R. Swayed focused on “imaging and information technology” and finding the “best solutions” at ITEX ’06. An I-Team postcard went something like this:
DocVar: “Team, let’s prepare for the future. Our business is changing and we need better solutions. We need to get to ITEX.”
Ms. Giga: “The forum on Digital Connectivity Solutions sounds awesome. Lately it’s been ‘here today, changed tomorrow’ in the doc tech world. ITEX will keep us current.”
Sir Viss: “The latest products are featured at ITEX. Let’s fire up the van and head to the show.”
The I-Team was fun and eye catching; yet on target with what you’ll find at ITEX.
By the numbers…
In 2007, ITEX received the Silver Folio FAME Award for Best Conference and Expo, jointly with imageSource Magazine. The FAME Awards recognize the best of the best and only honor leading magazine-powered events. It’s the only program that recognizes the power and contribution of live events in the publishing industry. A prestigious honor, Fame Award winners include Forbes Magazine (The Forbes 400 Summit), The New Yorker, Time Inc., The Atlantic, InformationWeek, Martha Stewart Living, and many more notable brands.
With the ’07 theme of “Your in Control” (think remote device which accesses a full menu of services), ITEX was touted as the only national convention that had become an annual mainstay for digital copier/printer dealers, VARs, resellers, vendors in software, hardware, parts and supplies. Held for a second time at the Las Vegas Convention Center, ITEX launched its e2e Meetings (executive2executive), one-on-one face time meetings between dealers, vendors and manufacturers, alongside its full conference program and expo.
In 2008, ITEX took a “turnkey approach” with “Tools to Transform Your Dealership.” A Wide Format print pavilion was created (think Mutoh, ColorTrack, Paradigm Imaging, etc.) along with Document Lab and Tech Tours which paraded interested attendees to vendors displaying cutting edge product. Oki Data was the official Partner Sponsor of the show, and the turnout to the Perfect Image Award ceremony was significant. Elvis, pink Cadillac’s and Vegas sentiment abounded that year.
In 2009 and 2010, ITEX focused on the emerging Hybrid Dealer. Dealers and professionals in office technology were finding that the environment had shifted dramatically due to the “new economy,” and solution providers were looking for answers to their customers’ demands for cost-efficient and conveniently acquired product and services. Within this transformation, providers were seeking to integrate offerings of hardware, software and IT services to become better, single-source providers to their customers, in order to retain market share.
ITEX thematically focused on The Future of Office Solutions in 2011. The expo addressed the current state of the industry and was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington DC. Questex’s production print event On Demand was simultaneously located at the DC convention center. Discussions on “How Technology Will Transform Your Business”” were in full throttle. Best-in-class event sponsors included ECi, Digital Gateway, FM Audit, MWAi, Supplies Network, Synnex Corporation, Oki Data, and GreatAmerica Financial Services, among many others. The Perfect Image Award for Dealer of the Year went to well-deserving solutions provider, Marco.
ITEX loves themes, and the 2012 “On the Horizon” told a good story. True to form, ITEX addresses the future, and what you need to do to prepare for it. With hundreds of best-in-class exhibitors, workshops and essential education tracks, there was strong interest on the MPS Forum, and an increased interest for a Managed Services Forum filled with “MITS” vendors and dealers. ITEX ’13 had a similar success story, as the “transformation,” the evolution to change gears due to emerging technologies, regardless of challenges, was the “new normal.” Onboard and ready, ITEX led the charge.
From last year’s “Be a Game Changer” to this year’s: “Power Up for Success,” ITEX keeps advancing forward. The drive and commitment to deliver innovation has become part of its DNA.
The 15th anniversary of ITEX celebrates a steadfast business model resulting in a successful trade show. Looking back at ITEX’s origins reminds us that it is still possible to see the spirit of intent in the drive to innovate and educate those in the office channel.
Join us in Florida March 10-12, as ITEX celebrate a milestone anniversary. Best of all find our strategic agenda that is full of unique assets and answers meant for those bent on taking their business beyond the next level. As always, ITEX is looking out for your future.
For ITEX EXPO event information, visit www.itexshow.com.