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Idea David Oldfather 1025 622a22a93e9cb

E-Biz Meeting Sets Attendance Record

March 10, 2022
The meeting was the first opportunity for David Oldfather and the IDEA team to get face-to-face feedback about the new IDEA Connector, which updated the legacy IDW.

The 2022 IDEA E-Biz Conference, held March 7-9 in Chantilly, VA, smashed the event’s all-time attendance record, with 217 attendees. Approximately one-third of the registrants were first-timers, which delighted an IDEA staff that went all-out to put on the association’s first live conference in two years.

The meeting was a reboot of sorts for IDEA for several reasons. It was the first opportunity IDEA had to get face-to-face feedback about the launch of IDEA Connector, a revamped version of its legacy IDW (Industry Data Warehouse), which the association’s technical experts managed to launch in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. IDEA Connector was engineered to provide IDEA distributor and manufacturer members with a secure, accurate “single source of truth” for electrical product data. It currently contains 2.9 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) from more than 1,000 electrical brands. Nineteen of the 20 largest electrical distributors on Electrical Wholesaling’s latest Top 150 listing utilize the IDEA Connector, and it serves more than 7,000 branches of NAED distributors, which jointly account for 90% of the association’s total member revenue volume.

David Oldfather, IDEA’s president and CEO, gave attendees at the conference’s opening session an overview of some new services IDEA is now developing for electrical distributor and manufacturer members including:

• In-house data mapping tools;

• The association’s new rebate management partnership with Enable;

• Global syndication of electrical product data;

• A new weights and measures program designed to help companies accurately track procurement movement in automated warehouses;

• And its harmonized data initiative.

The conference also offered two full days of technical sessions and round tables and an intriguing presentation by futurist Jack Shaw about how he believes businesses will soon use blockchain technology to securely share information such as financial transaction data, change order and legal contracts. He believes blockchain will be commonly used in the business world within 10 years.

Further down the road, the company is working on a new data auditing system to track which products in the IDEA Connector database distributors are accessing most and is considering development of a web storefront package for distributors not currently using an online storefront.

Attendees also enjoyed a dinner sponsored by XCHANGE at the Bull Run Winery, and learned that Susan Streich, one of everybody’s favorite people out on the electrical circuit, will be retiring from IDEA in July.

Next year’s IDEA E-Biz Conference will be held Sept. 17-21 2023, at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville.

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