For the first time, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) exhibited at its own show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the international trade show for the construction industries. The 75,000-square-foot Tech Experience, activated in Silver Lot 3 under the monorail at the Las Vegas Convention Center, March 7-11, was designed to shift the perception of CONEXPO-CON/AGG as an “equipment show” to one that showcases and drives industry innovation.
“Our board wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of the advancements in new technologies, and how they could benefit construction contractors and the entire construction process from a holistic point of view, but also, as a leading show brand for our industry, we felt that we wanted to elevate our brand and our show to provide more thought leadership for our attendees,” says Sara Truesdale Mooney, vp-exhibitions & business development at AEM.
The experience was split into three zones that brought to life the latest in manufacturing. This included the Infrastructure Zone, which revealed innovations that will revitalize the structures and systems of society’s framework, like new transportation technologies and modern mobility. On hand were scientists who are at the forefront of making infrastructure more sustainable, user-friendly and safe. In the Jobsite Zone, attendees were able to get hands- on with intuitive equipment and connected intelligence, including remote and autonomous vehicles, and Project AME, the world’s first 3D-printed, fully functioning excavator digging dirt on-site. In the Workforce Zone, attendees experienced the “future of work” through hands-on virtual reality training, gamified learning and connected jobsite wearables.
To develop the content for the experiences, AEM worked with a futurist to determine how the development of technology will impact the industry—what that means now, and 20 years out. Then, to engage the exhibitor audience, AEM sent out an “RFP” to exhibitors, allowing them to pitch whether their company should be included in the Tech Experience. Individual companies and organizations all had vignettes within the space. Completing the experience were 40 guest “tech talks” by representatives from Microsoft, Hyperloop, NASA astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, TV personality Mike Rowe (best known for the show “Dirty Jobs”) and many more. AEM recorded more than 110,000 engagements throughout the week.
“This experience was something brand new that we’ve never brought to the table,” Truesdale Mooney says. “Subject matter experts were there and on-hand to speak to people with their new material or their research or their prototype or innovation or equipment, and so that face-to-face interaction was a critical piece to this.” Agency: Jack Morton Worldwide, Chicago.
Gallery: The Association of Equipment Manufacturers Activates the Tech Experience at CONEXPO-CON/AGG