September 22, 2020

Glass Expo VE Virtual Trade Show – Walking the Floor

By Paul Daniels

Over my 39-year career in the glass industry, I have attended hundreds of trade shows and conferences in many different countries. We always thought it was important to support the glass associations and take advantage of these shows to thank our customers for their support in person. Just as important was to see what was new in the industry. Our strategy was to bring a strong sample of our products so our customers could see, feel, touch and appreciate the actual items they could only view in our catalogs or on our website, as well as to see our newest additions.

My least favorite part of the show was always the set up and tear down. The set up gave the sales staff a chance to educate themselves on the products in the areas they would be working and prepare for the show. The tear down was always nerve racking as people were rushing to check out, catch flights and get home after a long week.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend the GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE virtual trade show co-sponsored by USGlass magazine. I have attended some virtual conferences but was curious to see how they would pull off a virtual trade show floor. I was impressed with the way it was presented and had a chance to visit most of the booths. It was nice to be able to chat with many of the customers I was used to seeing at the GlassBuild show. The show had an international feel and gave vendors a chance to show what was new in their product lines.

In one of the chat rooms I was in, they were having a conversation about the issues that coated glass can cause with 5G signals. I had heard a little about 5G issues in large buildings, but this company was talking about residential windows and how low-E coatings reduce the strength of the new 5G signals. They explained that 5G was a lot faster than 4G, but has issues penetrating coated glass windows. I was curious and followed up with Mika Partanen who I met in the chat room from StealthCase OY, a company in Finland that has developed a passive antenna technology solution. Mika set up a Zoom call with his technician in Finland, and they explained that they have a technology that uses a laser to etch an invisible antenna on the coated side of a residential window. They have customers in Finland that offer “antenna glass” in their residential window line. I thought this was the most innovative new product I saw at the show. We always said that if we could find one new product or innovation at a show it was a success.

A virtual show has a lot of advantages bringing people, new ideas and technologies from around the world together in an economic way. I am sure that at the end of the show most vendors were glad to be in their home offices and not waiting for their crates and forklifts to show up at their booths.

If you want to see a quick video about antenna glass click here, or you can contact Mika Partanen, business development, North America  and international at 561/777-5369.