Something Special at the IPI

I have been to two parking trade events so far this year, the IPI and PIE. I’ll tell you about the IPI in a minute, but first I want to comment on a feeling that seems to be in the air.

I felt it first at PIE. There was an indescribable buzz that permeated the event. People seemed up and engaged. They were excited about their industry. Change is in the air in parking. And people know it.

The IPI Expo this year is huge. Not that there are many more companies exhibiting, but the exhibits themselves are larger, and innovative. Booths that are 20 feet wide and sixty, eighty or one hundred feet long cover the floor.

The influx of venture capital has been felt in the way products and services are presented. There were cocktail bars in booths. Equipment seems shinier, colors brighter, one booth even has a second story. This place has a European/Intertraffic feel.

Shawn, Bonnie and Co. at the IPI deserve the congratulations they will receive. The parking industry trade show business in the US has come of age.

But more important than the exhibit hall and the technology spread around was the excitement generated by the young people in attendance. And they were everywhere. I don’t know the average age, but I’m guessing its definitely under 40, and may be nearing 30. These are hard charging people, party til 2 AM, on the go the next morning.

They are bright, innovative and engaged. They are full of new ideas, and not afraid to tell you about them. But…

Do they think through their bright ideas? Do they have the wisdom that failure brings? Will they be around next year? Time will tell.

The excitement and optimism of youth is rolling over us like a tsunami. We can only pray that some of those who have dozens of trade shows under their belts temper that youthful vigor with wisdom.

Let’s just hope that these young startups are in it for the long haul, and have not worked out their exit strategies and sale to Google.


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