6 Reasons to Attend the 2024 A3 Business Forum

From can’t-miss addresses on the global economy, to knockout networking opportunities, the A3 Business Forum is the most impactful event of the year for the industrial automation industry.

The most anticipated networking event of the year for the automation industry is set to commence in Orlando, Florida, January 15–17, 2024. With over 700 of the biggest industry players expected in attendance, the A3 Business Forum, open only to members of the Association of Advancing Automation (A3), cannot be missed. With so much to offer, we break down the top reasons to attend this year’s event.

1. Unparalleled Networking Opportunities

The networking opportunities at the A3 Business Forum are unrivaled in the industry. World leaders in robotics, vision and imaging, motion control and motors, and industrial artificial intelligence all converge at this three-day event. While there, they share their expertise, discuss today’s toughest challenges, and make crucial connections to move their businesses forward.

With C-suit business leaders in attendance from some of the most innovative and impactful companies in automation, Alex Shikany, A3 Vice President of Membership and Business Intelligence, described it best when he labeled this event as the center of the automation universe.

A3 Business Forum draws in leaders from big enterprises like Proctor and Gamble, New Balance, and 3M, but is equally impactful for smaller organizations and startups as well. Attendees come from a range of companies, including manufacturers, system integrators, suppliers, and end users. If you’re looking for a partner in any of these sectors, there’s no better place to establish these connections.

Feedback consistently shows that A3 Business Forum is the most effective membership benefit of the whole year from the association. Sam Hostvedt, president of Automation Distribution & MDCI Automation agrees. "The Business Forum has been worth our membership alone," he shares. "You never know who you're going to run into at the A3 Business Forum. Whether there’s a new potential customer, a new partner, a new vendor, or a new technology supplier. It's a great place to see a lot of friendly faces that you’ve seen over the years. But it's also a great place to meet new companies and find new technologies."

As the driving mission of the whole event, there are plenty of networking opportunities built into the agenda each day, including our next highlight.

2. A Comeback of the Tech Sector Happy Hours

A3 is excited to present the return of tech sector time to the A3 Business Forum! On Monday evening, attendees will be treated to an exclusive networking happy hour, tailored to their industry interests. Broken down into robotics and artificial intelligence, vision and imaging, and motion control and motors, this breakout offers you a powerful opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals who share your passion and curiosity.

There’s a great history and much anticipation surrounding this time, explains Shikany. "Before it was the A3 Business Forum, this conference was separate events devoted to each of those technologies. And it was something that was really valuable for people in those specific communities. So we're excited to bring back specific time for those technology groups to get together on this year's agenda—really devote some time to networking and diving into the issues unique to each of those groups."

During the happy hour, you’ll hear from the A3 Board of Directors for your given tech sector on what’s new at the association, discuss the key issues facing the industry, and forge meaningful connections with your fellow attendees.

3. The 50 Year Anniversary of A3

The Association for Advancing Automation has been serving the automation industry and its respective tech sectors for an incredible 50 years. Join us to commemorate this milestone, made possible by our loyal members and the hard work and dedication of many in the automation industry. Together we’ll celebrate five decades of growth, innovation, and collective achievements as we look to an even brighter future ahead.

4. A3 Sports Night Party

One of the most-loved nights of the A3 Business Forum is the Sports Night Party. This is your chance to show off your team spirit, wherever your allegiances may lie, and enjoy a lively evening filled with friendly competition, relaxed networking, and all around fun. Be sure to come dressed in your jersey!

5. Inspiring Keynotes

With an impressive lineup of keynote speakers at this year’s Forum, members will gain inspiration and insight from the best in their fields. Guests will hear from our opening keynote speaker, Kyle Scheele, known as "The Patron Saint of Crazy Ideas," as he teaches us how to build a culture of innovation and creativity.

One of the highly anticipated mainstays of Forum each year is the address given by Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics on the global economic outlook for the year ahead. He recently shared with us what you can expect from his session this year.

"I'm really excited about showing you a future where you're gonna see how you can prosper, and how you're going to be in demand," said Beaulieu. "And, it may not be the way that you think. And it may not be what you're reading in the media. And it may not be what you're hearing around you. But underneath it all, there's a demand for you that will be present."

Switching gears, with cybercrime as one of the biggest threats to the industry at large, A3 is honored to welcome another keynote Frank Abagnale to speak to our members on Tuesday about cybercrime, identity theft, and scams. As an expert in the field of cybersecurity and fraud prevention, you may remember his riveting story as inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can.

Be sure to stick around till the end to catch the highly anticipated panel closing out the event: "The Users Speak: The Next Automation Challenges." With leaders from 3M, UPS, and Mayo Clinic, this session will tackle the most pressing issues of the industry.

There are many more sessions, so be sure to join us as we explore emerging applications in robotics and automation, talk about humanoid robotics, and learn how to navigate the AI landscape, amongst many other topics. To see the full list of sessions, click here.

6. Fun in the Florida Sun

And lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight how heading to a warm and sunny locale in the middle of North America’s winter is a definite perk of this yearly event. Many members even bring along spouses or other guests to join us at this Florida destination. With an average temperature of 72°F in January, the Forum programming takes full advantage of its natural surroundings.

Attendees can partake in the annual golf outing that kicks off the A3 Business Forum with an 8:30 a.m. tee time on Monday morning. Golfers will play a round of 18 holes at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, hailed as one of Golf Magazine’s "Top Courses You Can Play."

For those who wish to start their day with some movement, Tuesday’s A3 Wellness Walk/Run is for you. At this friendly 5k, you can go at your own pace and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surroundings in the company of others seeking a healthy way to start your morning.

And don’t forget to pack your suits, bathing suits, that is, for some relaxing time spent lounging by the beautiful pool at the Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

The time is now to make this crucial investment in your business and we can’t wait to see you at the 2024 A3 Business Forum. Register now to join us in Florida from January 15–17, 2024.