The AHR Experience

The question “what is your booth number?” came up time after time as we were preparing to go to the AHR Expo in Chicago. That usually leads into “why don’t you have a booth?” The answer is that we go for the AHR experience. That experience is different and customizable depending on who you are and what you want to get out of the show.

In our case we spent a lot of our time in the Building Automation Showcase and making sure that we visited our fellow BACnet International members. We spent some additional time in the Software area and throughout the show floor browsing the HVAC products from all over the world. Most importantly, we spent time with people. S4’s success wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the uniqueness of our products. However, it is the relationships that we have with all of these people who show up for the show, who have common interests, that really makes the difference. That’s why we don’t have a booth. Many of the BAS solution providers who do have a booth are also S4 partners who use our appliances as enabling technology. S4 partner Real Time Automation did have a booth at the show where they showcased S4 products as well as many other of their products. Their staff was very productive and they went away with many quality leads.

By staying mobile and flexible we were able to maximize our AHR Experience. In some cases we initiated scheduling a meeting in the weeks prior to the show, in some cases they contacted us before or during the show. In other cases we simply met during the show ad-hoc. The net result was that we were busy meeting with people all three days of the show and that spilled over to a meeting on Thursday morning before catching our flight. Even with that packed schedule we didn’t get to meet with everyone who we had hoped to visit with. We spent the time solidifying existing relationships, developing new relationships, and learning about each other’s products and services, as well as evolving industry trends and technologies, while looking for synergies between our companies. Weeks after the show is over we are still following up on the action items initiated during those show floor discussions.

The show always includes a plethora of quality educational activities. The only one we had time to attend was Ken Sinclair’s Connections Community event. As always, Ken does a fantastic job at finding panelists and moderating the event. We came away from that session thinking that we were experiencing a gigantic connection community, our AHR Experience!

Let’s not forget the after-hours events sponsored by many of the AHR Exhibitors. We filled our evenings attending as many of these that we could fit in. After all, if you really work the show it is both fun and hard work. The after-hours events were an opportunity to continue the AHR experience in a less formal environment and maybe tip the balance for a few hours towards the fun side of the experience.