Last week I was lucky to spend a few days at GlassBuild America 2015, the largest trade show event in the U.S. for the fenestration industry. Fenestration is everything to do with windows and doors—the spacers, the wood composites, the glass, the screens, the fabrication, the installation. Everything.

I was fortunate to attend this year’s event in Atlanta with our client, Quanex Building Products, and be part of the outpouring of energy and optimism for the future of the industry. Here are some things we’ll be keeping our eyes on over the coming weeks and months:

The Future of Windows

Windows really are a fascinating technology, and they’re evolving rapidly with the introduction of new innovations every year. Even just 15 years ago, overall quality was lower, customization options were fewer, and there was little to no focus on sustainability.

But now we’re looking toward the future, and the industry’s biggest players are making some bold moves. I found these concepts to be really exciting, some of which are already being a reality:

  • A shift from windows as energy savers to energy producers, thanks to the opportunity afforded by solar panel technology. Imagine your windows helping to power your home. It’s no wonder we’re hearing a lot of buzz around solar innovation.
  • New ways to customize windows with changing backgrounds projected on glass and even writing or drawing directly onto it.
  • Self-tinting glass that helps manage sun glare and visibility.

Marketing on the Rise

It’s no secret that brand storytelling is a concept that many companies have embraced in recent months and years, and it’s much the same for window and door brands. Companies with 10, 20, 50 and 100 years in the business are beginning to market around their rich histories and stories to help move their customers through the buying cycle.

At this year’s GlassBuild event, AKHIA presented two educational sessions on user experience and social media, two strategies many organizations are leveraging in the digital space to optimize content and support critical business goals. With the help of Ben Brugler, AKHIA was able to provide insight these two new trends that are beginning to emerge in earnest for fenestration professionals.

It’s Who You Know

What I’m about to tell you is not a secret: People like doing business with people. In the fenestration industry especially, it’s all about the (authentic) relationships you have and the strategic partnerships that are formed that really define success. And with so much emphasis on generational differences, it’s critical to really know your audiences to help meet their specific needs so that you’re bringing them value.

Amanda Vasil is Change Agent for AKHIA. Follow her on Twitter @avasilicious