Crain’s inaugural Technology in Motion event held in Detroit
From September 6-8, 2017, Crain Communications partnered with MSX International to host the first-ever Technology in Motion exhibition and conference in downtown Detroit. The three-day event highlighted the future of mobility and the city of Detroit, and brought together manufacturers, suppliers, and the tech community to showcase products and services and hear from industry leaders.
“A group of leaders in the city decided that we need to have a better platform for really cementing Detroit as the hub of the conversation around mobility,” said KC Crain, President and COO of Crain Communications. “The mobility conversation is obviously a global one, but there is a great opportunity for Detroit — which is doing so much for research around the mobility space — to own this conversation.”
Throughout the three days at Cobo Center, attendees listened to keynotes from an impressive range of thought leaders, including Matt Simoncini, President, CEO and Director of Lear Corporation; Rachel Bhattacharya, Chief Growth Officer of Maven; and Kathy Winter, VP of Automated Driving at Intel, among many more. Most of the topics tied back to either connectivity, autonomous vehicles, car sharing, or electric cars, while some guest speakers like Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, elaborated on the local community.
The exhibition featured displays from top OEMs, suppliers, and startups showcasing their newest technology. Nissan featured the 2018 Nissan Leaf, which was unveiled in Japan just hours prior to Technology in Motion. Other exhibitors ranged from large automotive and technology companies such as Toyota and Dassault Systèmes, to universities and youth programs in the STEM student village, to startups. A few blocks away from the Cobo Center, the Detroit Moves festival hosted by Quicken Loans in collaboration with TIM included everything from scooters to student-built autonomous vehicles, to drones, and even a “flying” car.
Crain brands have produced incredible large-scale events for years, but Technology in Motion is one of the first events of this scale that Crain Communications itself has hosted. “We’ve expanded beyond just providing news and information,” said Eric Cedo, Director of Marketing Communications at Crain. “We create platforms for the communities we serve to come together, improving the actual industry or community that we’re in.”
According to Cedo, Crain brings value to events that it runs like Technology in Motion because the connections created by the company and its publications. “We were able to bring together business leaders, government leaders, and people from the automotive industry, but also people from higher education and the business community at large,” Cedo said. “Because of this, we were able to really showcase all the great things happening in automotive, and more importantly doing it here in Detroit.”
The event marked the beginning of what the organizers hope will be a long-term initiative for driving technology and innovation toward Detroit and the local economy. Many of the exhibitors are headquartered in Michigan, or at least had an office or other facility within southeast Michigan. “It was also kind of a pitch to the startups and people in Silicon Valley to say ‘Hey, you can do what you’re doing right here in Detroit,’” added Cedo. Around 15 percent of the attendees for the first year were from outside of the state, and the plans for Technology in Motion 2018 plan to grow that number substantially. Other discussions for expanding the event include an incorporated job fair and creating a city-like driving course inside the hall for exhibiting autonomous vehicle technology.