By Steve Thorburn On July 19, 2010
As the axiom goes,
in 1810 the savvy
have gone to London,
in 1910 they
should have been
in New York, and
in 2010 they should
be in Asia. Having
from Shanghai, China and the
World’s Fair (Expo 2010), the saying
holds true. And it particularly points
to a bright and lucrative future for
several types of AV products. The
challenge comes in figuring out how
to harness the ideas and momentum
generated from Expo 2010 and build
business from them.
Expo 2010 opened May 1, 2010
and runs for six months on more than
5.28 square kilometers of land, straddling
the Huangpu river in Shanghai.
Over 120 pavilions are split between
those sponsored by different countries
and others created by corporations
(nearly all of them Chinese).
Expo 2010’s theme is “Better City,
Better Life,” representing the common
goal of improving living conditions
in urban environments, with a
nod toward sustainable development.
If you have never been to a World’s
Fair, this is the one to attend. China
has thrown billions of dollars into
creating this showcase, and has promoted
it ad nauseam across the country.
But be prepared to wait. Recently,
over 500,000 guests have filed into
the site on peak days (“slower” days
only play host to about 300,000).
Wait times for popular pavilions easily
run three to four hours. The U.S.
and China pavilions have seen queue
times up to six hours. We were there
for three days and only saw about
half of what we wanted to see. Even
with a guide from one of the installation
firms (who had the best cut in
line pass we could ever hope for), we
only could see six pavilions before we
were wiped out in the extreme heat
and humidity of a normal May day
Historically, World’s Fairs were a
showcase for the latest and greatest
in technology, and we did see some
trends that you might be able to capitalize
LED is here to stay. LED lights
permeated the Expo. And beyond.
Several of Shanghai’s elevated
highways are outfitted with colorchanging
LED lighting beneath the
roadway, and many of the skyscrapers
downtown feature LED lighting
and displays. The Expo seems to have
legitimized the use of LED lighting
as a decorative element on a scale
People in Asia want to be entertained
just as much as Westerners do.
With such long waits for shows, most
pavilions had some type of outside
entertainment. A video-projected
preshow was standard, and outdoor
ethnic stage performances were
everywhere. The technology wasn’t
cutting-edge, but it was the quantity
that counted. The Expo entertains its
guests with thousands of projectors
and video displays, and probably tens
of thousands of loudspeakers.
“Green” will not succeed without
Asia. All of our talk about the greening
of our systems and buildings will
have very little overall impact on anything
unless we can help bring the rest
of the world along with us. The Expo
is a great example of a major country
finding itself on the road to cleaning
up its emissions. If this is our goal
locally, then we really need to focus
on helping the emerging economies at
least get to where we are.
While Expo 2010 is only temporary
it does point to future opportunities
to capitalize off these trends,
especially in Asia, but also for future
Expos. But how do you do that?
If you haven’t already, start planning
now for the 2012 Expo in South
Korea and the 2015 Fair in Milan.
The best way to get involved is
through the design and development
teams for the USA, Canada, or other
major international or corporate
pavilion. This industry relies heavily
on referrals, so you need to utilize
your existing contacts and partners
more than usual. If you are not lucky
enough to have the right connections
right away, you will need to start
working to find an “in” with the
local promoters and developers. An
excellent resource for learning about
the workings of an Expo is to check
Steven J. Thorburn (SJT@TA-inc.com), PE, LEED-AP is co-founder of Thorburn Associates, an acoustical, technology, and lighting design firm.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ—LG Electronics
has unveiled the new face and URL for
its commercial website, LGSolutions.
com. As LG’s core vertical markets
continue to evolve and expand, LGSolutions.
com will make it easier for customers
to identify which digital assets
match a commercial environment—
pairing easy to scroll through navigational
bars with convenient landing
pages that provide ideas for signage
or display solutions. Quick links to
customer case studies, articles, brochures,
press releases, and newsletters
are now located on the home page for
easy access and sharing.
Place To Work
SPICELAND, IN—Draper has been named
to a list of the 70 best places to work in
the state of Indiana. The annual rankings
are compiled by the Indiana Chamber
of Commerce, which recognizes the
state’s top employers in two categories:
companies with 25-249 employees, and
companies having 250 or more employees.
The top companies are determined
through employer reports and comprehensive
employee surveys. Draper was
among the 42 companies named to the
list of larger employers, and was one
of only two manufacturers to make the
Launches BIM Library
MELVILLE, NY—Leviton will support
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
by offering a library of free downloadable
BIM objects. Leviton’s library of
objects, which currently includes patch
panels, fiber enclosures, wallplates,
connectors, and cable management,
are available for both Autodesk Revit
and Bentley’s MicroStation software.
Leviton plans on regularly adding new
products to the library.