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IFAI Expo 2020 goes virtual

Expo News, Features | September 1, 2020 | By:

Get ready to experience IFAI Expo in an exciting virtual environment. The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the entire textile industry to pivot in 2020 and capitalize on emerging opportunities. In a similar fashion, IFAI has taken up the challenge to host its annual Expo in a digital environment that is safe, engaging and extremely relevant to the textile industry.

IFAI Expo 2020 will be hosted exclusively online Nov. 2–12, 2020. IFAI Virtual Expo will take place over several days in a robust digital platform designed to provide many exciting opportunities for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. Attendees, no matter their role, will be able to discover new products, network and help grow their businesses. 

Going virtual allows attendees—both domestic and international—to experience IFAI Expo in a new way. Attendees can explore the knowledge-packed educational sessions from any location. Textile professionals from around the world can discover new products, chat, network, meet with exhibitors, communicate with colleagues and learn from world-class educators and presenters.

What to expect at virtual IFAI Expo

IFAI Expo will host numerous virtual sessions both live and on-demand. Deep-dive education sessions, campfires and the Advanced Textiles (AT) Conference will take place right from your computer or mobile device. Attendees will be able to view, hear and ask questions to speakers along with other attendees. Exhibitors and sponsors will have numerous opportunities to get their sales messages in front of IFAI Expo’s qualified audience through virtual exhibit space, advertising within the virtual event software, the digital show guide, sponsored sessions, networking lounges and more.

Attendees will be able to visit with exhibitors at their virtual exhibit booths. Attendees can find product information that is easy to access, and they can connect with exhibitors by chat, via a live call or by setting up an appointment. 

Exhibitor communications

The IFAI account management team is working with exhibitors to discuss options regarding the IFAI Virtual Expo 2020. IFAI Expo 2021 is still scheduled to be in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 1–4, 2021. More exhibitor information can be found at

Register today

Registration is now open for IFAI Virtual Expo 2020. For information and answers to “Frequently Asked Questions,” please visit

About IFAI Expo 

IFAI Expo is North America’s largest specialty, industrial and advanced textiles event. The event hosts more than 300 exhibiting companies annually for an average of 4,412 verified participants from more than 60 countries. IFAI Expo is produced by Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). 

Why is IFAI Expo going Virtual?

Due to the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, hosting an in-person IFAI Expo this November was made nearly impossible. By going virtual, IFAI Expo can still offer attendees and exhibitors the same great education content, networking opportunities and tools to grow their business without risking their health and safety.

What is IFAI Expo?

Since the first show in 1918, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) Expo has been regarded as the industrial fabric industry’s flagship show for commerce, networking and knowledge. As the premier industrial, specialty and advanced textiles event, IFAI Expo attracts thousands of industry stakeholders from around the world for four days of buying and selling, networking, learning and fun—all designed to help participants grow their bottom line. This year, for the first time, IFAI Expo will take place as an online only, virtual event. The markets served at IFAI Expo include:

  • Specialty Fabrics
  • Advanced Textiles
  • Smart Fabrics
  • Shade and Weather Protection
  • Military
  • Marine
  • Geosynthetics
  • Fabric Structures

Who attends Expo?

Attendees of IFAI Expo are buyers and sellers who are eager to conduct business and learn about industry developments, share new ideas, discover trend data and explore opportunities. Join thousands of manufacturers, suppliers, research and development professionals, craftpersons, designers, fabricators, engineers and product developers for an incredible virtual experience.

The benefits of a Virtual Expo

Hosting IFAI Expo in a virtual format has numerous benefits. Going virtual provides a new way to experience IFAI Expo while offering many conveniences. Benefits of virtual attendance include:

  • Logging into this event is easy! All education, exhibitors and networking opportunities are only a click away.
  • Save money on travel, hotel, dining and all the extra expenses that
    go along with traveling to a show.
  • CONVENIENCE! There has never been an easier way to visit multiple exhibit booths, attend education sessions and chat with experts in the industry. You won’t need to navigate through a massive building to get where you want to go.
  • Experience the show at your own speed. All of the education events
    will be available in “on-demand” and “live” formats. You get to choose how you will enjoy the content!
  • Save your shoe leather this year. And guess what? You really can be two places at once, because you won’t have to choose between events that occur at the same time. You can log in live to one event, then later click on the saved events you missed.

Advanced Textiles (AT) Conference

The Advanced Textiles (AT) Conference is still set to happen—virtually, of course. Join the conference for a selection of 50-minute virtual sessions that will cover themes such as sustainability, medical, health and wellness, and innovation in product and materials. Note: you must purchase an All Access Virtual Registration to attend the Advanced Textiles Conference. 

The IFAI Expo Show Guide

IFAI will still publish an Expo Show Guide for this virtual event. Much like the live event, the Expo Show Guide will be your resource to find out everything happening at the show. The guide will include presentations and lists of exhibitors and their products and services. A printed Expo Show Guide will be mailed in October to the first 3,000 registrants. An online Expo Show Guide will also be available so attendees can easily navigate the event. 

A message from Steve Schiffman, IFAI President and CEO

“The health and well-being of our staff, members and guests are paramount. We had a strong safety plan in place that exceeded the suggested guidelines, but with travel and border restrictions in place along with the rising COVID-19 cases in Indiana, we believe this is the right decision,” says Steve Schiffman, IFAI President and CEO. 

“We look forward to hosting the industry in Nashville, Tenn., next year for our 100th annual in-person Expo. The decision to cancel the live event was not easy. IFAI considered the impending potential cost exposure of exhibitors and attendees, and concerns for safety, as well as travel difficulties inhibiting attendance, and determined this was our best option.”

To prepare for this decision, IFAI consulted the IFAI Board of Directors, industry leaders and exhibitors. IFAI also surveyed previous IFAI Expo attendees to see their level of interest in attending an in-person event in November 2020. “What we learned,” says Schiffman, “was that there is a great appetite for IFAI Expo, just not in-person this year. Although IFAI is disappointed to not be able to host IFAI Expo in Indianapolis, we are excited to announce that IFAI Expo can maintain its role as the #1 gathering space for innovation, sourcing and networking in the U.S. textile industry.”

Features of the IFAI Virtual Expo

The online platform

Lobby. Once you are registered, this is where you can chat with fellow attendees or find your way to other areas of the virtual platform.

Webcast Auditorium. This is where you will find all the sessions, their titles, descriptions and presenters. Just prior to a session starting, you will see a button that says “Attend Webcast,” which will open up a new window for the session. If you missed a session or want to go back and view it again, you can access the webcast videos on-demand when they become available in the days following the original time. 

Networking Lounge. This is another great place to chat with your fellow attendees, either as a large group or one on one.

Exhibit Halls. This is where you can explore all the exhibitors and their booths in the exhibit halls. You can watch videos that they have provided, download informational materials and chat directly with someone from their company during designated hours.

The chat function

Chat opportunities are available in each area of the event, as well as each exhibitor booth. You can chat with everyone in the room using text or have private one-on-one texts, audio or video chat.  

Log in ahead of time

Once you are registered, we recommend that you log in 24 hours before the event and look around the site. This will help you familiarize yourself with the different areas. 

Prior to the event, you can also log into a demo site to click around and familiarize yourself with the platform’s functionality. The functionality will be very similar, if not the same, across events.

Technical support

The online platform includes a Helpdesk where you can find frequently asked questions along with phone and email support. Additionally, there is a chat box in the lower right corner of the platform for more support during normal show hours.

About Industrial Fabrics Association International

Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) is a member-owned, member-driven trade association representing the global industrial fabrics industry since 1912. IFAI invests more than $8 million each year to advance the industry and support member companies. IFAI provides members with relevant information, sourcing solutions and networking opportunities to sustain and grow their business. For more information visit

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