LAS VEGAS— Sure, new is great, but what’s the use of new if nobody notices? At the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) to be held Sept. 7-11 in Las Vegas, there’s more to what’s new than just novelty. Everything added is designed to increase engagement.
“IBIE is held by the industry for the industry, so to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our audience, we should be out there listening and keeping a pulse on how we can best add value,” said Fred Springer, IBIE technology task force chair. Co-owned by the American Bakers Association, BEMA and the Retail Bakers of America (R.B.A.), IBIE has active volunteers networking at global events and on all major social networks, Mr. Springer explained. With a finger on that pulse, IBIE feeds attendees not only new information and experiences but also ones that they value.
For example, virtual reality (V.R.) emerged in 2016 as a powerful tool for attendees and exhibitors. V.R. and augmented reality provide a new perspective and new opportunities to connect with attendees and customers. Mr. Springer anticipates that exhibitors will integrate these engaging experiences more this year, and he said IBIE will help highlight these experiences
“To showcase the technology, our team is planning to develop a ‘journey map’ to help attendees locate V.R. on the show floor,” he said.
Additionally, IBIE is updating its mobile app, to be unveiled this spring, after 2016 surveys indicated that the app was so comprehensive that it was almost overwhelming. Mr. Springer said IBIE has a dedicated task force focused on the technology that will work with the show’s app partner to streamline content in the most user-friendly format.
One of the biggest changes to this year’s event, and one that also will alleviate any trouble with trying to be two places at once during the busy show, is the education-only day on Sept. 7. The day is dedicated to the IBIEducate program before the show floor opens on Sept. 8.
“We’ve curated sessions that address some of the industry’s top challenges and opportunities,” said Andrea Henderson, IBIE education task force chair and vice-president of Rondo.
Half-day workshops include sessions covering employee and talent management, food safety best practices, consumer trends, robotics-based packaging systems and improving bakery operations with visual analytics. For retail and artisan bakers, the program offers hands-on cake decorator certification classes and workshops.
“This year’s focus is really around content and creating more immersive experiences,” Ms. Henderson said.