By Linda Conlin, Pro to Pro Managing Editor
Earlier this month, The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, organizers of Vision Expo, announced the decision to cancel Vision Expo West 2020, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 23-26. “We pride ourselves on being the industry’s ultimate gathering place and while we recognize and appreciate how important the Show is to the community, we believe this is ultimately the right decision for our customers,” said Mitch Barkley, Vice President of Trade Shows and Meetings at The Vision Council. Currently, plans are under way for Vision Expo East to return to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, March 18 through 21, 2021.
The year 2020 certainly has changed so much of what the vision care industry expected for our “Year of Vision.” Thanks to flexibility and innovation, however, a great deal of opportunity awaits. When Vision Expo East 2020 was canceled early this year, it was to be consolidated with Vision Expo West. In the interim, the organizers worked to develop virtual meetings between exhibitors and those who would have been attendees. With the September show canceled, “Vision Expo is launching a robust 365-digital platform dedicated to bringing the optical community together and allowing business to continue and flourish. The platform will include CE education, allow for direct appointment setting, virtual product showcases, service and product sourcing, and much more.” (Do you mean I don’t have to wait another eight months for many of the resources Vision Expo has to offer?)
Vision Connects, the 365-digital platform, is up and running at https://west.visionexpo.com/Vision-Connects/ . There’s the Virtual EYE2EYE Series, a complimentary series of virtual panels and interactive conversations inspired by Vision Expo’s EYE2EYE educational series. It takes place on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM ET and keeps the community engaged, connected, and informed. New or future independent retail owners can connect with a panel of successful independent retailers via Next Generation of Retail Speed Dating. You can have your questions answered and access information and practical tools for eyecare providers relating to COVID-19. You can connect with suppliers through direct virtual appointments, and there’s more to come. (Hey! This is great stuff!)
It's a sure bet that Vision Expo is here to stay, and some exciting innovations have come from the setbacks. I’ll miss the hustle and bustle of the show floor, and future shows will likely look a little different from how we remember them, but we now have even more ways to access information and connect than before, and they’re available every day.
You don’t have to miss out on education you planned to get at Vision Expo West. You can choose courses on a variety of topics with our CEs at 2020mag.com/ce. Many courses are free courtesy of grants from generous sponsors.