One of the parts of NTC I find the most appealing is how the trade show is called the Science Fair:
The Science Fair isn’t like a typical conference exhibit hall. Instead of running throughout the entire conference – and competing with everything else on the agenda – the Science Fair takes place only on the first day of the NTC, and it’s the sole focus of the conference at that time. It’s also the setting for the conference’s Opening Reception. As a result, the room is full from start to finish, so come prepared to talk to dozens of exhibitors and meet hundreds of conference attendees. Reflecting this event’s unique nature, we call it the “Science Fair” so that everyone realizes it’s an integral part of the NTC and not just another boring exhibit hall!
I’d love to see them take the metaphor one step further. If this is a science fair, then how about having science projects?
It doesn’t have to be mandatory (so vendors won’t phone in some token effort just to qualify), but it could be a chance to show off some fun tech application, an intriguing experiment and its outcome, or an inspiring case study. Have participants vote for their favourites (hola, QR codes) to select finalists, and enlist a panel of distinguished judges to choose the winner.