Above, booth setup at CES 2023, below, CES Unveiled event, BMW keynote & Canon USA booth, Photo Credits: Consumer Technology Association
by Jeanne Brei
The industry is all abuzz about how CES attendance exceeded all expectations (more than 115,000 attendees by end of show with 40,000+ of them coming from outside the U.S. representing 140+ countries) as well as about 1,000 more exhibitors than last year (3,200+ in total) who used nearly 2.2 million net square feet of exhibit space (70 percent bigger than CES 2022). Some of the most talked-about exhibits included a Web3 Studio, produced by CoinDesk, in the Web3, Metaverse and Blockchain area at CES and the Canon USA booth, a replica of the cabin from the new Universal Pictures M. Night Shyamalan movie Knock at the Cabin (opening Feb. 3) where attendees could check out new technologies aimed at blurring the lines between real and virtual worlds in an “immersive movie experience.” Also for the first time, CES had a dedicated Metaverse area on the show floor and is also turning into quite the car show of the future! Even the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a part of the BMW keynote (pictured left).
Talk on the trade show floor is also abuzz in Philadelphia where the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s four trade show labor partners—Laborers’ International Local 332, IATSE Local 8 (Stagehands), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98, and Iron Workers Local 405—have launched a joint initiative with the PCC. The new Hospitality Industry Advancement Trust (HIAT) Fund represents a partnership dedicated to expanding training in safety, development of technical skills, and customer-service and hospitality. The tradeshow labor unions will make a donation to the Fund for every hour worked with a union member, an amount that will then be matched by the PCC’s management. Projections are that this will raise approximately $250,000 to $400,000 per year to meet the ongoing and evolving training needs of its workforce.
The HIAT Fund will support enhanced training opportunities focused in three general categories: “Safety, Skills, and Smiles:”
- Safety programs will provide participants with opportunities to obtain general and specialized Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety certifications.
- Skills training will be coordinated with contractors in the convention and meeting industry, such as Installation & Dismantle (I&D) and Decorator companies to provide the workforce with the latest technical training so that the workforce can offer the most efficient and economical builds possible.
- Hospitality 1.0 and 2.0 programs will focus on providing customers and guests with memory-making experiences that consistently exceed expectations through prioritizing customers, positive attitude and engagement, and a commitment to success.
“The signatory labor unions of the Pennsylvania Convention Center are proud to be participating in the new Hospitality Industry Advancement Trust,” says Michael Barnes, (pictured left) 1st international vice president of the IATSE and chair of the HIAT Fund Board. “This innovative, joint initiative between convention center labor and management will improve workplace safety, provide additional skills training to enable the Center to offer customers the most economical build-outs possible, and provide all guests with so many wonderful memories that they’ll want to return, again and again. The signatory unions of the convention center thank CEO John McNichol for his spirit of partnership and forward-thinking leadership.”
McNichol (pictured right) , president & CEO of the PCC Authority, says, “We are fortunate to have a team of labor partners that appreciate and understand the importance of delivering the best possible experience to our trade show, event, convention, and meeting customers. They are making a long-term commitment to ensuring the labor personnel who work in our facility not only have the latest safety and skills training, but also a high-level of hospitality-focused training. The partnership and cooperative relationship between management and our show floor labor workforce is remarkable and it’s having a real, substantive impact on the customer-experience. In fact, customer satisfaction survey scores at the PA Convention Center demonstrate the results with an 87.2% overall rating and an outstanding score of 95.5% for utility services.”
“This program is another illustration of management and labor at the Center working together to deliver meeting planners, exhibitors, and attendees the best possible experience and value,” said Martin Sobol, Esquire, (pictured left) a member of the PCCA’s Board of Directors and chair of the board’s Customer Satisfaction Committee. “We are a united team that understands that strong customer service improves our competitiveness, puts us in a position to make every customer a repeat customer, and ensures Philadelphia will remain one of the country’s most desirable convention destinations for many years to come.”
The ongoing cooperative working relationship between PCC management and labor was further solidified last year with the extension of the facility’s labor agreement, known as the Customer Satisfaction Agreement (CSA), for an additional five years until 2034.