A host known for rolling the dice doesn’t mean AHR the hard way.

While it’s not even Thanksgiving as we go to press with this issue, thoughts are already turning westward, toward the big slot machine / convention center in the desert. AHR and ASHRAE make their first-ever joint trip to Las Vegas at the end of January, and while next month is our official “show issue,” now might be a good time to take a look at a couple of things that could make your trip easier after you arrive.

PERSONAL ASSISTANTS

Both AHR and ASHRAE have brought a little more technology to the table to help you make the most of your time once you get there.

Well, to back up for a second, the first plus is having the ASHRAE conference in the Las Vegas Hilton, which is adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Sure, given the size of these facilities and the nature of Las Vegas, “adjacent” still probably means a 20-minute walk from a Hilton seminar room to a given booth on the Expo floor. However, I still submit that in late January, that walk will beat the heck out of the shuttle bus to and from McCormick Place and Palmer House in the Windy City. We have that to look forward to next year.

In addition to neighboring locations, our hosts are harnessing some online power to improve your routing. At www.ashrae.org, you can explore the Society’s new “personal scheduler.” This allows you to search the tech program a number of different ways, as well as mark any of the many committee meetings or ASHRAE Learning Institute courses that you might attend.

I haven’t done it yet, but you can reportedly also export your custom schedule to your computer or mobile calendar once you’ve finished plotting your itinerary.

As for the AHR website, you’ll find a couple of returning features such as an exhibitor search. However, they’ve also added a couple of wrinkles that make a visit worthwhile. A product search allows you to dig a little deeper in search of the booths that actually matter to you. There’s also a new interactive Flash map of both halls, ready for finding and storing any stops you want to make while you’re walking the show.

If you’re so inclined, you can also create and store a calendar to organize appointments and events. The AHR site does require a quick registration to use the new interactive portion of the site, but having just done it myself in the name of investigative journalism, I can attest that it’s quick and painless. You can opt-out of any related mailings easily enough, too. More details in our “Issues & Events” section.

BETTER BUILDINGS, FREE SESSIONS

Fort the 12th year in a row, our friends at AutomatedBuildings.com will bring their traditional set of free seminars and discussions to the Expo. By the time you read this, there may be more detail at their site, but here’s the basic scoop.

On Monday, Jim Sinopoli and Dave Branson join Ken Sinclair for separate discussions on “Connecting Building Automation to Everything” and the topical “Continuous Commissioning And Today’s Aggressive Energy Standards.”

Tuesday opens with “Key Technologies For Our Connected Future.” A panel discussion featuring the aforementioned trio plus Toby Considine will focus on “Incentives to Motivate and Connect our Industry.” And the busy day wraps up with “Creating Budget for Implementing Information Management,” trying to further forge an effective bridge between facilities management and IT as the two worlds continue to creep closer (and occasionally even overlap).

Jack Mc Gowan, another longtime ES advisor and author, will join several energy leaders in two other educational sessions about the Smart Grid and its progress, offering a “status report” on Monday and a look at Smart Grid success stories on Tuesday. Find more details at our site and keep these in mind as you budget your time. ES