Last week SimHelp participated at the Flight Simulator Engineering and Maintenance Conference (FSEMC) held in Renaissance Tulsa Hotel & Convention Center, Oklahoma. Being one of the representatives, I would like to share my experience of what is it like to be part of the summit, what to expect, and why you should participate too.
At a glance, Tulsa appears to be a great location for the summit because it’s full of hotels, catering facilities, and convenience stores. Flight Safety International simulator base where over 15 simulators work at the same time is only 20 min away from the city. Yet, the location of the FSEMC varies and next year it will be held in Miami. The organizers did an excellent job as everything was on time; the coffee breaks were very well spaced out time wise.
If you are thinking of going to the conference for the first time, you should definitely do that but also be aware of several factors that might influence your experience. Firstly, if you are a startup, a small and unknown brand, be prepared for a chilly welcome. The general audience is men in their 50ies with over 20 years of experience in the simulation and aviation market and they waste no time on speaking to newcomers.
Secondly, learning opportunities are not a priority
at the conference. The goal of the conference is to expand your contact network and sell your products and/or services. If you are very new in the industry and know what’s a simulator but have not heard of the main manufacturers and providers, you will not have a common ground for a conversation. Also, you have to know the methods of business development and be prepared to offer solutions benefiting both parties. Of course, there is always a possibility to learn about the latest trends in the industry, e.g. new avionics systems introduced by SONY, Rockwell Collins and others. These innovative solutions no doubt will enter the market in the upcoming years.
Thirdly, you should be proactive and very specific if you want the results. Important people don’t just hand around looking for anyone to chat. During the conference I managed to meet people from America airlines, Alaska Airlines, Finnair, Saudi Arabia Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Royal Air force Oman, Delta Airlines, Boeing, CAE, Thales, Flight Safety International, US Airways, Japan Airlines, Tap Portugal, JATS, Czech airlines, and other simulator operators. Most of the time the talk circulated around specific problems that need addressing and opportunities to develop a partnership.
All in all, it was a great experience for developing my relationship with industry experts, strengthening the positions of SimHelp in the market, and brought a significant amount of leads. I’m definitely going there in 2015.