March 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 3
ITEXPO Growth of 15 Percent Portends Bright Industry Future
With all the doom and gloom talk regarding the global economy, many attendees and exhibitors came to ITEXPO (News - Alert) recently in Miami with low expectations. A few exhibitors told me candidly the show could have been justifiably down 30 percent.
Instead, we went into the show with exhibit hall/VIP registration 30 percent ahead of last year. But would they show up? Yes, IP communications saves companies money. Yes, it makes them more productive and efficient. And yes, SIP trunking and a host of other technologies are what is needed by companies in this tough economy.
Sadly though, not all CFOs care what is best for their companies so they lock down travel budgets, keeping people from coming to shows to learn about technologies they need to help boost the bottom line.
The final tally? The show was up 15 percent in total attendance. The quality according to most exhibitors was better than any prior ITEXPO – going back to 1999! I wondered how many people would be coming to the show looking for work. I heard from exhibitors there may have been 1-2 resumes distributed throughout the three day event.
While much of the economy is in a deep economic slump, there is a large amount of optimism in communications industry based on exhibitors I spoke with. To get a balanced perspective I asked for the comments from others on the show and the industry. I want to take a moment to thank all of you who came to the show to make it a success. We could not have done it without you.
The IP communications industry has always been full of surprises. Surely anyone lucky enough to have attended the recent ITEXPO East 2009 at the Miami Beach Convention Center got to experience what happens when fortune smiles on an industry surrounded by global economic uncertainty.
As testimony to those present who participated in this terrific show, I’d like to share with you a sampling of some of the voluminous and complimentary email traffic sent to us by overjoyed ITEXPO East exhibitors and attendees.
A Pleasant Surprise
“I’m going to admit that on my flight down to Miami I was worried about what I might find at the Internet Telephony (News - Alert) Conference and Expo. What I found was a pleasant surprise. The energy was high, the conference robust and the exhibit hall impressively packed with people interested in VoIP. If the Internet Telephone Conference and Expo is any indication of the health of the VoIP industry, I’d say things are looking pretty darn good.” — Garrett Smith, Director of Marketing, VoIP Supply.
“Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) and I spent a few minutes in the lobby of our hotel on Thursday morning [Feb. 5] chatting about the show. I told him that the show exceeded my expectations in terms of the numbers of attendees and the interest and enthusiasm of the audience for the products and services that were showcased. For Ingate, the SIP Trunking seminar series drew the largest attendance of any of the previous 5; we scanned 393 names — a definite record. And the participants came to each of the seminars that we presented. The first day is always great. But this time, on the third day — which for trade shows is usually a slow day — the audience was quite large right up until the end… From the discussions I had, people are really looking for technology and services that will lower their operating costs as they prepare to weather lean financial times. ITEXPO is the show for people looking for Voice-over-IP solutions that accomplish this goal. And SIP Trunking is a service that presents a concrete opportunity for savings. One of our presenters, Kool Smiles, highlighted that they had achieved a reduction of 40 percent on their telephony bill by converting to SIP Trunking and paid for their phone system upgrade in less than 12 months. And, after a year in service, they are very pleased with the quality of the service and the features of their system. We hear much anecdotal evidence like this from our customers and others. By offering a forum for these type of breakthrough technologies and services, ITEXPO and the SIP Trunking seminars offer businesses an opportunity to learn about these services and plan for their implementation. We look forward to the next ITEXPO in October 2009.” — Steven J. Johnson, President, Ingate Systems (News - Alert) Inc.
“ITEXPO East 2009 was a breath of fresh air. Despite beginning to feel suffocated by the endless rhetoric of a worsening economic climate and a decrease in buying power, what VoicePulse (News - Alert) experienced at ITEXPO was a real world example that businesses are in fact ready to buy. As a Voice-over-IP service provider, the amount of booth traffic VoicePulse received and the qualified leads generated from ITEXPO only reassured us in our belief that the market is truly ripe for a serious commitment to VoIP. When it comes to IP telephony, what were once only business concepts have now matured into specific business models that are reshaping the communications market. Not suprisingly, VoicePulse was able to witness that first hand at this conference.” — Ravi Sakaria, President & CEO, VoicePulse.
“The show for us was absolutely fantastic and the attendance was above expectations… It was absolutely awesome and we did fantastic at the show. Get me a good spot for October!” — Don Palmer, CEO, SIP Print (News - Alert) LLC.
The Quality of the Attendees
“I cannot start to tell you how awesome this show was for Zultys. I was doing demos from the second we opened to when the lights went off, and most of the time to 2 and 3 dealers or customers at the same time. We ran out of brochures, cards, price lists, EVERYTHING. I severely under estimated the success — Only 1 day after the show. The only thing I regret about the show is that I did not bring enough people from Zultys (News - Alert) to help me manage the traffic. We hope to be a part of that show EVERYWHERE. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you all… P.S. Since we are hiring big time, I was also able to fill a couple of positions — saved me the time and money to advertize — I had people come to ME instead of me go to them. It was truly the place to meet Vendors, Clients, Dealers and seal in relationships that would go well beyond 2009.” — Pierre Kerbage, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Zultys, Inc.
“Digium was thrilled by the excitement and attendance of the many high quality buyers at ITExpo and Digium Asterisk (News - Alert) World! In this difficult economy, customers are looking for ways to reduce expenses while improving their business communications systems. This event gave customers and resellers a unique venue to research new, innovative VoIP and open source telephony solutions, available at a fraction of the cost of traditional communications systems. After the show closed and the exhibits were being torn down, Digium (News - Alert) and several of our Asterisk ecosystem partners still had customers in the pavilion asking for more information! In this era of doom and gloom, we’re elated with the success of the event and the new opportunities for innovative VoIP and open source telephony solutions!” — Leslie S. Conway, Vice President, Global Marketing, Digium, Inc.
“The qualified leads we received at the show was beyond our expectations. It was the one of the most focused shows we have been at in years! We were also very pleased to see the many companies looking for business from Latin America.” — Greg Hamburg, Director of Sales , Voipswitch.
“I’ll just say we were overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised by the turnout. We’ve exhibited at a number of regional trade shows in the past few months and have found both exhibitors and attendees down significantly. The fact that ITEXPO attendance was up — and that many of the attendees traversed borders and great distances to be there speaks to the prominence of ITEXPO as a key industry event.” — Corey S. McFadden, Managing Partner, Infradapt LLC.
Robust Conference Sessions
“I arrived at the convention center for the keynote session in which I presented Nortel (News - Alert)’s Open UC strategy, admittedly with some concerns — after all, we were in the middle of a recession. To my surprise, I found the room full with 200 attendees, who fired away with thoughtful questions into overtime, even though the bar and exhibition floor were open. Clearly, the attitude was to invest in technology and prepare for better times.” — Tony Rybczynski (News - Alert), Director Strategic Enterprise Technologies, Nortel.
The Analysts Weigh In
“For me, this was probably the best ITExpo I’ve attended over the years. I would echo what many have been saying about the better-than-expected attendance and positive vibe in spite of this being a down market. My sessions were well-attended and the traffic I saw on the show floor was brisk. It was great to see Carl Ford and Scott Kargman have full sessions for the 4G tracks, and I hope that’s the start of something big with TMC.” — Jon Arnold (News - Alert), Principal, J Arnold & Associates.
“The show was great and, even with the crazy economy, I believe your attendance was strong. The plenary panels were informative and the location was fantastic.” — Charles “Chip” Spann, Wireless Business Analyst, Connected Nation (News - Alert).
Is VoIP Recession-Proof?
I can’t answer that question with absolute certainty, but as you can see by the comments we’ve received from our happy exhibitors and attendees, ITEXPO remains a thriving, exciting show. IT
See you in Los Angeles in October 2009!
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