Auckland techXpo 2017

The first TechXpo in Auckland took place in the Vodafone Events Centre from Friday 11th August – Sunday 13th August. As a brand new conference being held for the first time, we were curious about the format if the show. We arrived at the venue without specific expectations around 10am, just in time for the floor to open for visitors. (We would find out later that it was the right decision to arrive on time and avoid possible queues.).

Having registered online we had our tickets ready on our phones. After only few minutes waiting in line, we entered the lobby of the venue and received our lanyard with attached ticket. Each ticket had a unique visitor number which was required for the hourly prize draws. Every attendee had the chance to win and the mentioned visitor number functioned as lucky number. Once being scanned at the entry, the number was valid for one hour.

We thought this to be a good system. People who were unlucky (like we were) and did not win anything during their first hour could leave the venue with good conscious and not feeling like missing out on a win by not staying longer. Attendees that wanted to stay longer than one hour anyways, could have their ticket scanned at any of the exhibitor booths in order to re-enter their name for the next draw. A very cool way of keeping people engaged and excited during their visit.

The venue setup was pretty straight forward. Exhibitor booths in a circle all around the hall and some bigger exhibitor booths in the middle. There was one dedicated entrance and one dedicated exit on the other side. This made people walk naturally through the venue clockwise. Next to the exit was also a big checkout area where people could pay for products they wanted to purchase.

In the middle of the aisle that led through the venue, were piles and piles of product boxes and cartons. Many of the goods were advertised with up to 20% discount and up to 30% discount if people attended one of the sponsored workshops of the respective product company. There were indeed a lot of bargains to be made and attendees did not hold back, carrying out boxes and boxes of longed for goodies.

Sales staff at the exhibitor booths were more than happy to explain and showcase some of their latest products. Most of the items on display were the newest gadgets and versions, allowing interested attendees to have a proper look at their desired tech gimmicks.

We spent about 3 hours walking through all the aisles and had a good look at all the products on display. The show featured everything, from mice, keyboards and shiny new gaming computers via drones and mobile phones and even some rather exotic items like controllable lightbulbs.

One hour would have been enough to see the whole venue and most products on display, but we wanted to get more photos and see how the show develops during the day. It started to get really busy in the venue after lunch time and the product piles started to shrink significantly. This is the time when we decided to call it a day. When we left the venue we were asked to hand back our lanyard and ticket.

Re-entering the venue was not possible, which we thought was a bit odd. Mainly because the only food source (a food truck) was outside of the venue. If you were thirsty or hungry you could not just get yourself a little treat and re-enter, maybe thats something to reconsider for next time.

Speaking of possible improvements, was the show worth attending? It was definitely interesting to see the latest products out there. It was clearly a consumer oriented show but in our opinion the focus was a bit too much on the commercial aspect. We would have loved to see a bit more focus on innovation and exciting ground breaking technologies.

About 15%-20% of the featured products were computer, mice and gaming related products, around 15% was mobile phones and devices. 10% robots, toys and drones, the rest a combination of light bulbs, headphones and baby monitors. Most of the displayed products were top of the line but not necessarily ground breaking. Many have been available already in the standard tech stores and did not need to be highlighted again.

The layout of the venue could be improved if they removed next year the piles of boxes and cartons of goods form the aisles. This would free up some space for people to comfortably walk through the exhibition floor. Especially past lunch time when huge crows of people entered the venue, additional space in the corridors would have been good. They could simply have one box of each item and the massive stock piles outside of the venue area for pick up.

Overall it was for sure an interesting event, especially as it was the first of its kind that has been help in Auckland. Would we go again? Yes, we would potentially attend again next year. If we had to describe it in one sentence? Like a JB-HIFI end of the year sale on steroids.

The good:

  • nice venue
  • interesting to see new gadgets and items on display
  • hourly prize draws based on the entry ticket
  • great bargains and deals to be made
  • workshops teaching details and use of products

The bad:

  • barely food and drink options except for one food truck outside
  • piles of purchasable goods took away too much of the venue space
  • no re-entry after leaving the venue

Possible improvements:

  • smaller product piles in the aisles
  • more food trucks and food options

What was your impression of the event?

Auckland techXpo 2017 vodafone events centre

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