ICSC RECon 2018--Stepping Into the Future
The Las Vegas Convention Center hosted ICSC RECon 2018 last week from May 20-23. Upon their entry into the Convention Center’s Central Hall, this year’s RECon attendees were greeted by the ICSC Innovation Exchange. This interactive exhibit showcased a broad range of new technologies, including autonomous security systems, digital storefronts and 3D body scanning systems, which help take pin-point measurements for customer sizing. The exhibit was developed by J. Skyler Fernandes, managing director of investments at Cleveland Avenue, who curated a similar exhibit at the 2017 New York Deal Making. Representatives from the various exhibitors were available to present and explain these innovative products, which are rapidly changing the retail landscape and customer shopping experience.
The future of retail was also on display in other aspects of this year’s convention. The RECon SPREE exhibit, for example, welcomed several formerly pure-play e-tailers that are now opening brick-and-mortar stores. The show’s formal presentations were also focused on this theme, including a panel discussion led by Mr. Fernandes on “Investing in Retail and Real Estate Technology.” Many of the exhibition booths similarly tried to keep things fresh with new technologies and more interactive experiences. For example, Oliver McMillan’s exhibit included a virtual reality tour of their Fifth + Broadway mixed-use project in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Las Vegas Convention Center itself will be stepping into the future with a $1.4 billion revamp. The extensive work is not set to be completed until 2022 and will include a 600,000 square foot addition, as well as renovation of the Convention Center’s existing four halls. ICSC is currently signed up to hold RECon in Las Vegas through 2022 and Convention officials indicate that the show will continue uninterrupted during this renovation period. RECon attendees are eager to see what the future has in store.
As far as changes in the Conference itself, attendees seemed to enjoy the programming offered, including the keynote presentations each day of the Conference. Given the focus of the Conference from Sunday to Tuesday, several attendees suggested that perhaps the Conference should end next year on Tuesday, a day earlier than usual. It appeared that most meetings scheduled for Wednesday were rescheduled to earlier in the Show. Overall, the consensus was that the Conference was productive and the future of retail, while changing, continues to look bright.