Calysto Communications and Public Relations is a PR company that has perhaps the most customers in the VoIP space and they have a great team of PR people. Their clients are certainly almost all on the telecom "A" list. Since they attend a lot of shows it is worth listening to what they say when they evaluate one show or another. This is what they had to say about the USTA Telecom 05 and TelecomNext shows.
USTA TELECOM ’05
Venetian Resort & Casino
October 24-26, 2005
Attendees: Approx. 7,000
Exhibitors: Approx. 236
Media: Approx. 90 press/analysts were in attendance
As SUPERCOMM transitioned into GLOBALCOMM 2006, so too goes USTA’s TELECOM ’05 into TelecomNEXT. What was the experience at this year’s event? It depends who you ask.
The best quote we overheard at the show regarding the attendee experience was, "USTA TELECOM ’05 has always been a conference which just happens to have exhibits attached. SUPERCOMM traditionally was the opposite."
The aforementioned conference program featured some heavy-hitters, and was not without a bit of controversy. During the "gloves are off" keynote, Cox Communications’ CEO Ed Robbins dared telcos to "bring it on." Other less controversial panel discussions included CTOs of RBOCs including Mark Wegleitner of Verizon; Balan Nair of Qwest and Bill Smith of BellSouth where IMS and other next-generation services were the topics "du jour."
One of the long-standing complaints of USTA’s exhibitors has been the lack of balance between the strength of the sessions and the traffic on the show floor. USTA attempted to address this by carving out one hour each morning designed to allow conference attendees to visit the booths. However, the show floor still had large blocks of time where other exhibitors were talking to one another – not prospects.
USTA has traditionally promoted the conference as one that attracts decision makers. That may be true from a conference standpoint, but the reviews on the show floor were decidedly mixed. For many, the low attendance on the exhibit floor seemed like the opening act for TelecomNEXT 2006.
Vince Vittore of Telephony articulated this in his show wrap-up: "From the blow-ups of Time magazine’s cover of Steve Jobs (ironically, with the headline ‘What’s Next?’) to the password for Wi-Fi access, USTA is doing its best to promote the show after the show."
Well, what’s our take on what’s next? We predict TelecomNEXT will pick-up where USTA TELECOM ’05 left off, with an impressive line-up of speakers and conference agenda but a hit-or-miss show floor.