The Top Five Trends

Debra A. Levy

Robotics are in and finding enough workers is out; accelerated depreciation of up to 100 percent of cost is in and recession is out. All these factors combined to make the GlassBuild America (GBA) show, held in Las Vegas September 12-14, 2018, the business-busiest show in a decade.Throw in a number of new products, a whole lot of new technology and you have a very successful event.

Trends were everywhere. Here’s my own top five, Vegas-style:

1. Jumbotrons come indoors.

Cruise the strip and you’ll find it full of jumbo displays and bright lights, but in-side the show hall, activity revolved around jumbo of a different type. In addition to the new jumbo glasses being introduced, there was handling equipment, new types of spacers, coating technology and more—all introduced to handle and manage the new oversized glasses that are becoming more the norm.

2. Well, they’re not Shakin’ and Stirred, but they will do.

While one Vegas hotel offers fully robotic bartenders named Shakin’ and Stirred, the show offered robotics of a different sort. Instead of ending up with a Witch Doctor cocktail from the VooDoo Lounge, the robotics on the floor created insulating units, lifted large lites of glass and more. The technology that is utilized extensively in Europe and Asia has been displayed at glasstec in Düsseldorf for years. This year though, robotic machines moved from a novelty to a viable machine to own and operate here in North America.

3. The show girl was quite an attraction.

And that’s saying a lot because Sin City is full of chorus lines of attention-grabbers. But Sophia by Intermac was truly the lady of the show. The Sophia Internet of Things app and cloud-based software management tool provides an easy-to-use dashboard containing real-time visibility of machine status, performance and functionality. The program is also fully integrated with the company’s new Parts portal, which allows customers to purchase parts, check availability and track purchases online 24/7.

4. Glitz and lites abound. That the show included quite a bit of Glam Glass, better known as decorative glass, is nothing new. What was new, however, was the advanced sophistication and quality and size of some of the offerings. Decorative continues to evolve at a rapid pace and the technology produces glamorous—and breathtaking—results. The glitz was provided by all the new hardware offerings, many of them smart and able to be controlled externally. Retina and finger scans also made their way into the show.

5. No gambling on the green.

Not green as in cash winnings, mind you, but the green as in environmentally-friendly. The green value proposition has been integrated into just about every product it can be to the point where it is no longer a value add-on, but a basic expectation of product performance. The new residential E-Lon® environmentally friendly door seal was just one example of many products that now include a green component de rigueur.

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