There’s good news and bad news at this year’s Internet World Wireless show. The bad news is that there are only a third as many exhibitors as last year. The good news? If you attend, you’ll probably get a seat during lunch.
The trade show, running through tomorrow at New York City’s Javits Center, has noticeably thinner traffic and dramatically smaller floor space this year. Last year, there were some 150 exhibitors and about 10,000 attendees over the three-day period. This year, there are 50 exhibitors, and on the first day of the show, about 2,800 attendees.
The economy, and consolidation in the wireless Internet space, can’t be ignored in the shriveled showing, says Dean Russo, show director at Penton, the show producer. He says the show will still be on track to meet its target of about 5,000 attendees over the three days.
“More than you think of the 150 [exhibitors from last year] just aren’t in business any longer,” Russo says.
What’s helped to fill some of the gap, and the booth space, is the boosted presence of Microsoft and its Pocket PC platforms. Microsoft, through its aggressive push of Pocket PC, is looking to take the spotlight off of Palm handhelds. Jonathan Genkin, conference chairman for the show, says there has been an increase in seminar participants for the application-developer track for Pocket PC.
While some of the seminars have been crowded, an attendee couldn’t walk the floor yesterday without overhearing incredulous statements of, “Is this all there is?”
Some exhibitors say that, while it’s been nice to attend, the trade show, or any for that matter, just isn’t where business is being done today.
“Last year was all about the hype and promise of wireless Internet happening,” says Josh Rochlin, VP of business development at GoAmerica, a wireless ISP. “Now, business is being done in the offices of the CTO.”