Trade shows are back—Automate 2024 was electric

Posted by Dan White on May 14, 2024 2:41:58 PM

Were you in Chicago for Automate 2024? Dan White shares some highlights from last week's show.

As cities worldwide buzz back to life post-pandemic, trade shows are reclaiming their spotlight, and none more so than the recent Automate Show held in Chicago. With over 800 exhibitors showcasing the latest in automation and robotics tech, the McCormick Place was the place to be.


Killer Keynote by Billy Beane

Automate 2024 kicked off with an insightful Q&A with Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s former GM whose data-driven, analytical approach changed the way baseball executives balance player payroll and talent.

While baseball and automation may not seem like a logical pairing, I found myself reflecting back on the opening keynote, particularly the idea that thinking (and hiring from) outside the box can lead to radical change. After all, Beane was the first to hire economists and data scientists (rather than former players and coaches) to formulate roster decisions, leading to unprecedented success with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

Beyond Booths and More than Machines: The Quest for Knowledge

We saw high speed machines, dazzling displays, even humanoid robots. Yet what stood out to me more than anything were the actual humans in attendance—not just the quantity of people (and this show was bumping), but the quality of our interactions. The average attendee I spoke with wanted to learn, and even fellow exhibitors were eager to engage deeply about the latest technologies. Automate didn’t feel like a trade show, but rather a community event to push innovative technology forward into practical applications.


Shared Spaces: Our Time with Inductive Automation

Quick shoutout to our friends and partners at Inductive Automation for sharing booth space with the Opto team. Prominently on display, a groov EPIC and a groov RIO were running Ignition Edge and publishing MQTT data over a cellular modem into Ignition Cloud Edition software. The cooperative spirit among Opto 22, Inductive Automation, and their software partners made it possible to guide attendees to the solutions that fit their needs, enhancing everyone's experience and takeaway.


Can we talk about Chicago for a sec?

I’ve passed through Chicago before, but spending the entire week there gave me an opportunity to explore what the city has to offer, and in short—it’s a lot. From enjoying a Chicago-style hotdog on a beautiful spring evening at Wrigley Field (sorry, the Cubbies lost), to stuffing my face with a few slices of Pequod’s famous deep dish pizza, we made sure to hit all the bucket list items. We even made it to “The Ledge” at the top of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower—Epic Chicago Exploration: Achieved!




Automate Show 2024—that’s a Wrap

As Automate 2024 comes to a close, we're leaving Chicago with fresh insights and valuable connections. The interactions we had, both with technology and with each other, underscore the strength of collaboration in driving innovation. 

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success. Looking forward to applying what we've learned and seeing how it shapes our projects moving forward. Here’s to more innovation and continued collaboration until we meet again in Detroit 2025. Motor City, here we come. You’ve got a lot to live up to!

Topics: Events & conferences, groov EPIC, Ignition, groov RIO, Inductive Automation

Written by Dan White

Dan has worked at Opto 22 for more than a decade. His Tufts Engineering background, MBA in International Business, and prior industrial controls experience give him a unique edge in automation. Dan enjoys staying active through biking, basketball, skiing – and keeping up with his three young kids!
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