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A Glimpse of Tradeshow History (September 2015)

1925: The significance of “UFI”

Participants of UFI's ISU 2015
Participants of UFI’s ISU 2015

What’s in a name? That’s a familiar question in the tradeshow industry in which most facilities and acronyms, often identifying associations, hold significance. One such association, UFI launched in April 1925 under the name “Union des Foires Internationales.” Translated from French to English, this means “Union of International Fairs.” In 2003, members decided to simply go by “UFI,” which was followed by the now familiar tagline — The global association of the exhibition industry. This change highlighted what the organization is rather than the mystery behind its acronym to those outside the industry. A truly global association, UFI represents 670 members who live in 235 cities in 83 countries on six continents.

1994: Graphics go digital  

ECN 092015_History_Printing (web)

Most of the tradeshow industry’s graphics gurus are surely aware that Durst AG Italy invented the Lambda print, an image printed on photographic paper, and its associated digital imaging technology. For the rest of us, the story starts following years of intense research and development. In 1994, Durst AG Italy produced the Lambda 130, a large-format laser printer. The Lambda printed high-resolution digital texts and images. This never-before seen technique led to the spread of Durst’s digital imaging technology. By 1995, more than 900 Lambda printers were added to production facilities.

ECN 102014_ASSOC_Pennsylvania Convention Center approves ESCA badge usage2009: The first venue to use ESCA WIS badge program

In July 2009, Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) became the first convention center to use Exhibition Services & Contractors Association’s (ESCA) national Worker Identification System (WIS) Badge program. ESCA WIS badges have become an added security measure for exhibition venues. They are used to identify tradeshow contractors and vendors.

Additionally, the program lessens the need for laborers to carry multiple badges for entrance into different facilities. GWCC leadership indicated the system is something they would have taken advantage of years ago had it existed. ESCA earned accolades for its innovation. Presently, 14 exhibition facilities in the U.S. use the badge program, with Baltimore Convention Center becoming the latest to do so.

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