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Vision Expo reveals features of June hybrid event

The show will feature a new main stage, unique neighbourhoods and a digital offering for virtual attendees

Orange County Convention Center
Orange County Convention Center
Organisers of Vision Expo have unveiled a number of features for the Vision Expo East event in June 2021, including a hybrid offering.

The event, run by The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions, is due to take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Florida from 2–5 June and, at the time of writing, is expecting to have at least 5000 attendees.

Of the registered attendees, nearly 60% are new to Vision Expo, having not attended the last show in 2019, representing more than 800 new retailers, labs and practices.

Commenting on the numbers, Ashley Mills, CEO for the Vision Council, said: “We’re really thrilled. We think that the attendees who are making the choice to come to the expo, which could very well be their first trip in over a year, are very deliberate about their intentions to come and network and look at products and see everything that’s new.”

More than 200 companies will be exhibiting at the show, with more than 60 of those new to the event. The show will also offer 122 sessions and 168 hours of education.

Hybrid features

Alongside the live show, event organisers have confirmed plans to debut two digital offerings alongside the event.

The first will be the launch of ShopVision, a business to business global marketplace through which suppliers will be able to showcase new products and buyers will be able to keep track of brands and discover new products and solutions.

The organisers also plan to launch a three-day digital extension of the event through the ShopVision platform, called VisionExpo+.

Discussing the plan at a press briefing on 12 May, Fran Pennella, vice-president of Vision Expo at Reed Exhibitions, said: “There are of course many people who typically attend Vision Expo in New York that can’t because of travel bans or health concerns and so we wanted to be able to accommodate each of them by providing them a taste of Vision Expo East in Orlando.”

From 3 June, virtual attendees will be able to access a number of virtual experiences and education. All events taking place at the main stage, including Eye2Eye panels, will be simulcast live through the ShopVision platform. Recorded sessions will be available to watch back from 7 June.

“It was important for us to provide a hybrid experience for those that couldn’t join us,” Pennella continued.

Registration for Vision Expo+ will open from 20 May for virtual attendees

Promoting the hybrid features of the event, the show floor will host a ShopVision Lounge as a discovery zone for on-site demonstrations of the platform.

A new main stage

The event has seen a redesign of the show floor, with neighbourhoods focusing on different areas of vision care and eyewear. Mills described this as a “careful curation of products and companies to create neighbourhoods that each have their own feeling, subculture and DNA.”

This will include a new main stage area, ‘The Seen.’ This has been designed as a collaborative learning area, hosting the Eye2Eye series of panels and discussions, which will provide insights on topics from business and marketing strategies to creating an inclusive practice.

The Seen will also house the Innovation Stage, dedicated to state-of-the-art products and services, and will host the Career Zone on 5 June, for students to connect with employers and access career resources.

Pennella explained: “With a carefully curated line-up of events, The Seen provides valuable content designed to reinvigorate old concepts, drive progress and innovation, introduce new strategies for success and create a better future for patients and employees.”

Main stage sessions will include presentations from key suppliers, including a Bausch + Lomb presentation on innovations in inflammation and IOP control, tips on establishing a sports vision practice from the International Sports Vision Association, and a presentation by Allergan on chronic dry eye management.

A vibrant, COVID-safe, show floor

Neighbourhoods at the show will feature five distinct areas including, ‘The Focus,’ bringing together lens technology and innovations in vision and eye care, with key exhibitors including Alcon, Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Novartis, Topcon and Zeiss.

‘The Park’ will host prominent players in the industry including EssilorLuxottica, Charmant, Eyewear Designs, Tura and Liberty Sport, while ‘The Union’ will present the newest in independent design.

‘The River’ zone will present eyewear collections that “shape the future of eyewear,” while ‘The Springs’ will be a discovery zone for emerging talent in eyewear design and vision innovation, featuring Ferilli Eyewear, Tyche + Iset Eyewear, Bonavista Optics and SpiltMilk Eyewear.

The event organisers have also partnered with the Professional Opticians of Florida, who will be offering Florida-required education, as well as the National Optometric Association, which will host its regional meeting at the show.

Health and safety continues to be a key focus for the event organisers and was also part of the reason behind the event’s move to Orlando, where the convention centre has been safely running shows for the past year.

“I think it is important to emphasise that this is not the year to ease up,” Mills said. “In fact, we are going to be the absolute gold standard of COVID-19 safety and prevention.”

Event protocols include mandatory face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks, as well as increased sanitation. More information on the protocols is available online

With high levels of interest in the event, the free registration deadline has been extended indefinitely.

Mitch Barkley, vice-president of trade shows and events at The Vision Council, said: “Due to restrictions on international travel, we always knew that Vision Expo East 2021 would look a little different than a typical, international Vision Expo East in New York City.

“Given these realities, it has been truly thrilling to have our expectations exceeded again and again – by the response from the industry, the enthusiasm from exhibitors and the momentum in attendee registration.

“Based on the overwhelming response we’ve received, we are extending free registration to give the community more time to take advantage of this offering,” he added.

More information on the event and registration can be found on the Vision Expo website