If it’s possible for an event to be both low-key and upbeat, that was this year’s Vision Expo West. Exhibitors and attendees alike expressed a positive outlook on business.
New this year were a series of 13 “pop-up” talks held throughout the show floor. Among them, a presentation on the pros and cons of online retailing and how eyecare professionals are wise to join this trend rather than try to beat it, by VCPN’s own Frank Giammanco.
Inspecs announced the launch of its Seemless Collection, which uses a patented bonding process rather than more traditional drill mounts, and Silhouette introduced its Atelier Collection of 18k gold rimless frames detailed with handset precious stones and ebony inlays.
New wearables demonstrated at the show were VSP’s Level, which tracks steps, calories burned, activity time and distance traveled while syncing with the company’s Eyes of Hope program to provide no-cost eyecare and eyewear to those in need and also offers a “Find My Glasses” app, and the Radar Pace smart eyewear with real-time, voice-activated coaching developed by Luxottica Group’s Oakley in cooperation with Intel.
Other technology introduced at Vision Expo included Eyefinity’s EHR software for the Apple Watch and VISION EASE’s new “No-Compromise” photochromic lenses.
The lines between product categories were further blurred when two prominent sunglass providers announced that they are now offering ophthalmic frames as well. Costa made the announcement prominently with a newly designed booth and an early-morning press conference, while Maui Jim was more subtle as it shared its computer presentation with a select few.
It seems everyone has seen the blue light and is now offering a product to filter it. BluTech, one of the first companies to offer lenses that filter this potentially harmful portion of the spectrum since 2010, introduced its BluTech Ultra lenses in polycarbonate and announced the launch of its BluTech Eyewear line in conjunction with ClearVision Optical.
Also in eyewear, De Rigo REM exhibited for the first time since the two companies merged in June, and Marchon introduced Columbia Eyewear.
Of course, there were plenty more product announcements, social events, educational presentations and networking opportunities. Official statistics from show organizers show that there were over 320 hours of education, more than 65 events and parties, 370 show specials including exhibitor and entertainment discounts, and 180,000 square feet of exhibit space with more than 100 new fashion brands debuting fall lines, accessories and new eyewear trends
Be sure you are there for the next one.
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