Tradeshows, Will They Survive?

I’ve always enjoyed attending tradeshows. It’s an opportunity to ‘escape’ routine and immerse myself in current and future technology. Sure, everything is at our finger tips on the web but it isn’t the same as being able to see it up close and in action. And at many booths, the actual developers will be on hand to ‘talk about their baby’. Being based in the USA, I’ve noticed a disheartening decline in the size, quality , and attendance at shows. Ah for the heydays of Comdex when attendance was greater than 200,000 people, vendors were out in the thousands (and threadbare rooms at the Imperial Palace were $395 a night!). One of my current favorites is the Embedded Systems Conference currently in San Jose, California. It is germane to both the technology we use inside our products and as a place to display our wares as well. This show has continued to implode through the years and now during many of the exhibit hours vendors talk to other vendors just to pass the time while waiting for attendees to come by. Are tradeshows going the way of the dinosaurs? There’s a ray of hope. Last year I had the privilege to attend the Embedded World Show in Nuremberg, Germany and was thoroughly heartened by the huge vendor participation (704), attendance, the sheer size of the show, and the general buzz and enthusiasm there. No one has told the Europeans that tradeshows are passé! Das ist gut.

Have you been to any good tradeshows lately? If you get a chance, drop by the Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, March 2-4, 2010 or the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, California, April 26-29. I’d like to meet you and hear about your projects.