Posts Tagged 'Margin in voice and data'

The grubby world of exhibitions

It seems like we have entered the grubby season of the exhibition. I say grubby as some of the exhibitions I’ve been to previously have consisted of nothing more than a myriad of stands of vendors who don’t understand what you do, trying to sell you something that you inevitably don’t really need.

With the recent ‘Margin in Voice and Data expo’, there seemed to be a distinct change in direction towards a more focused show. I personally saw it as a good time for event organisers to re-evaluate their expos. However with the economy showing signs of picking up, there has been a return to the scene of the big all encompassing show stopping exhibition. Last week I went to the IP expo. Usually filled with big stands with big companies with even bigger egos. However this year was different. I only went for a morning on the first day, but what I found was an exhibition with a clear theme; Virtualisation. Previously where there were 4 expos centered around different aspects of cloud computing. This had now been amalgamated into one big show. Personally it was interesting to have a chat with different network operators, followed by walking across the room to discuss compatibility issues with specific vendors and system application developers. I found this a lot more worthwhile and was able to get a good level of understanding as to how different vendors/suppliers plan to incorporate a cloud based service into their product portfolios.

I then recently went to the ‘Convergence Summit South‘ run by Miles Publishing. This is specific to the channel within the telecomms industry and by their own admission has been their most successful summit for a while. As exhibitions go, it was exactly as expected. However the shining light of the expo was the seminars. Personally there was a great debate early on between Tim Hubbard of BT Wholesale, Neil McArthur of Talk Talk and Steve Gallagher of Cable and Wireless about what constitutes a ‘Next Generation Network’, and how their respective organisations are striving to compete. In my view, the term NGN is extremely mis-leading and one used purely for marketing spin. To see these industry heavyweights vying with each other about their own USP’s, whilst surveying the potential future landscape of the telecomms market was exciting, as little more than 5 years ago, BT would not have had to defend against such strong competition. The expo also saw an interesting feature, whereby hosted VOIP providers were given 20 minutes to setup from scratch their hosted platform in front of a packed audience. The one that I saw was successful and proved the ease of use and speed of the platform.

In all, expo’s can provide a valuable insight into your chosen market. Going back to the convergence summit, it was interesting to see how many big mobile carriers were present, as they tried to embrace the shift to FMC by traditional voice and data integrators. It’s a shame that the example set by the ‘Margin in Voice and Data’ expo earlier in the year was not followed, and I’m sure that as we emerge from the recession, various exhibitions will only continue to get bigger and probably more brash.

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Margin in Voice and data

I’ve been to a few exhibitions this year and although they have still been busy, they haven’t been as busy as their respective events last year. Events such as Internet World and the IPTV forum proved extremely popular last year, and in this economic climate, I guess it is only natural that there were cut backs in the number of attendees. From my perspective, it’s hard to justify spending a whole day out of the office traipsing from stand to stand to listen to numerous pitches about services that seem to do everything and nothing at the same time.

However, yesterday was different. I haven’t been to a ‘Margin in Voice and Data‘ expo before, but registered to attend a few months ago. However, shortly after registering, I received notice from them that due to economic pressures, they were changing the format of the expo to an invite only affair, and that I should wait patiently to receive my invite. Admittedly I thought this to be a clever ploy, and assumed that they would go ahead and invite everyone who showed an interest. And when I received my invite, I was less than shocked.

I traipsed to Twickenham yesterday morning, to see a lot fewer numbers than I expected, but right from the onset, everyone was very sociable and happy to talk about the challenges they were facing currently, and how they were pulling themselves out of it. The big boys from Opal to BT Wholesale were present. However, the real value to be had was in talking to smaller resellers who maybe didn’t trust those with big shiny stands who talked a lot, but hadn’t delivered for them in the past. This element has been missing from previous events I have been too. And it made it so much more worthwhile. I was put directly in front of prospective clients, and understanding their current issues. I suggest other event organisers take note as the intimate nature of this made this event so much more relevant, and resulted in both myself and my colleague getting extremely well qualified leads to work on.


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