Trade show organisers have unveiled a new format. ibtm America opened in Chicago in the Skyline Ballroom at McCormick Place West, with the over-arching theme: ‘Connections mean everything’. The show replaces AIBTM and organisers have gone for a sharper focus on face-to-face meetings, with a one-to-one ration of buyers and exhibitors at standard shell scheme booths. The first ‘Discovery Day’ will kick off the Knowledge Forum, with a keynote session sponsored by industry association PCMA. Following that, there will be two sets of three congruent sessions by PCMA, incentives association Site and the ibtm events team. The first set of sessions will include a breakout around tools for planner productivity titled ‘Big Data Part 1’, as well as an industry engagement option ‘Shared Economy’ from PCMA. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn how to put meetings design into practice with the session on ‘Audiovisual Technologies and Adult Learning in Meetings’ led by Michael Owen from EventGenuity, LLC. The next set will see more sessions around industry engagement from Site. Returning presenter James Spellos will lead the last option, ‘Way Cool Tech Tools’. To enhance the informal connection making, the ‘ConnectZone’ will bring additional education offerings for attendees and exhibitors to experience during their breaks. A hybrid of last year’s Innovation and Refresh Zones, the ConnectZone revisits some of AIBTM 2014’s features such as the Innvoation Spotlight Stage and the TECHbar. New this year will be the WellnessNexus, a showcase of the latest and emerging trends in personal and professional wellness, as well as the ImageDeck, where attendees can enrich their personal and professional appearances via image consultants. Charitable activity will include a ‘Dress for Success’ campaign to donate business clothing for disadvantaged women. Organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions also introduce a mobile multi-event app from Lanyon’s GenieConnect. Buyers and exhibitors will be able to view their appointment diaries, event schedules, and access social media and receive special alerts during the show in real-time.The application is sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board and will offer attendee alerts and push notifications. Networking events include a Welcome Party and an Experience Chicago Event. ibtm america runs until 11 June.