Imaging's Cutting Edge Convention Returns to Sunny Florida
Creativity, vibrancy, excitement—that's not just an apt description of Orlando, Florida, the location for this year's PMA Annual Convention and Trade Show, it's also a fitting characterization for the 81st annual convention itself, making a return to the Sunshine State after a two-year stint in Las Vegas.
The PMA convention, one of the photo industry's biggest events, will take over the Orange County Convention Center for four days (February 20-23) of new product rollouts, cutting-edge technology and service intros, valuable educational and business sessions (more than 200 on this year's lineup), exciting social events, and a wealth of networking opportunities. It's the perfect forum for attendees to get a first glimpse at the new products that will revolutionize the way they do business, as well as being the ideal place to mix and mingle with exhibitors, manufacturing executives, professional photographers, and other experts.
Something Old & New
More than 750 exhibitors are setting up shop in Orlando to showcase their wares for the 28,000-plus attendees expected to converge upon the Orange County Conference Center this year. In addition to innovative slants on familiar products and services, expect some new ground to be broken at the show as well. For the first time, PMA is welcoming scrapbook retailers to the show, acknowledging the strides this burgeoning field has made within the photoimaging industry. In a nod to the surprising success of camera phones this year, the PMA Mobile Imaging Pavilion makes a return to the trade-show floor, highlighting camera phones and wireless image transmission.
In between browsing the deluge of vendor booths, guests can check out more than 200 PMA educational sessions, covering everything from technical lighting tips and techniques, professional retouching strategies, and color management to marketing challenges, diversifying your business, and negotiating print sales. You'll get the inside scoop on growing your business and bolstering your bottom line from experts in every field through hands-on tutorials, round-table discussions, and even portfolio reviews.
New to the show this year are the PMA Imaging Conferences, an innovative concept that allows registrants to register for all three of PMA's pre-show conventions. Much like the multi-theme-park passes available in the Orlando area, this "all-access" badge provides entry to all sessions (February 17-19) sponsored by the Association of Professional Color Imagers (APCI), Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA), and the Professional School Photographers Association International (PSPA). While the three conferences will maintain unique identities and scheduling, organizers will be able to minimize duplication and overlap and maximize business opportunities for attendees. Speaking this year at the PMA Imaging Conferences are Ray Kurzweil (entrepreneur and inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner) on "The Acceleration of Technology," and William Taylor (founder of Fast Company magazine) on "The Maverick Style of Leadership."
Also new this year are the convention's innovative PMA Retailer Tours, held in conjunction with the Graphics Intelligence Agency. Each tailor-made tour will feature up to 12 stops on the trade-show floor in one of the following product categories: digital minilabs, wide-format inkjet for retail, self-service photo kiosks, POS and online print order solutions, digital camera hardware, color management and correction, framing, and scrapbooking. These tours will give independent retailers the chance to meet with top-level marketing executives and suppliers to create new business opportunities that will help them take on today's mass-market retailers.
Back in the convention corral for 2005 are the popular DIMA Digital Camera, Digital Printer, and Digital Photo Kiosk Shoot-Outs. Both before and during the main PMA show, manufacturers will test-drive their hottest products in these categories; an expert panel of judges will announce the winners on February 21, as well as the winner of DIMA's Best in Show award, bestowed upon the most technologically innovative products or services at PMA 2005.
All Work and No Play? Not in the Sunshine State
The annual PMA show isn't all about working the trade-show floor and scrounging for free promotional samples. There will be plenty of scheduled diversions on the docket where you can still hobnob with company execs and colleagues. Get ready for tee time on the greens at the Orange County National Golf Center for the PMA Golf Tournaments on February 18 and 19; strap on your jogging shoes for the convention's daily morning Fun Runs; or embark on a photo safari to the nearby Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (February 18). Classic rock fans won't want to miss PMA's Big Night on Tuesday, February 22, when Creedence Clearwater Revisited celebrates 30 years of Southern standards, including "Down on the Corner," "Susie Q," and "Born on the Bayou."
For more information on individual business sessions, social events, or an exhibitor list, go to http://pma2005.pmai.org/.