Back to reality

The show's over and it's time to head back home; but how can network managers follow up on some of the exciting technologies being exhibited? Invite the vendor back for a dose of old-fashioned real life, and see how the system measures up in the field.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  November 27, 2006

|~||~||~|Well, that big IT event (I’m not saying the ‘G’ word) is over for another year, and everyone in the Middle Eastern IT community is slowly recovering from a week of techie mayhem. And what mayhem it has been; for the networking community, there was an unprecedented focus on communication technology at The Show, with vendors keen to show off some pretty special systems. But the rarefied atmosphere of a show is not necessarily the best place to judge some of these high-end technologies – especially when it comes to some of the more hardcore networking solutions. For example, we saw a wide range of radio networking solutions on offer, including WiMax-based systems, alongside more established technologies. What is more, visiting IT managers were clearly keen on exploring some of these technologies a bit further – almost without exception, booths were occupied by visitors wanting more information. While being able to look at, touch and hold a microwave transceiver has its benefits, the true test comes with seeing the thing in operation – not something that’s likely at The Show with many of these systems. Where trade shows do have a big advantage is being able to size up a vendor against its competitors, both in terms of the product and the staff. But the key to success can come after the show. The true test for vendors is to see how they measure up in the field – and first of all whether they turn up. There should not be a large number of vendors at The Show which don’t actually want to do business in the Middle East (what’s the point in coming?), but checking a company’s fulfillment channels are able to deliver is pretty critical. Putting a system on the ground for the first time and switching it on – this is where the real test lies, especially with systems such as RF networking products which will have to withstand significant environmental stress. And being able to see whether the innovative piece of technology you saw at the show is backed up by a comprehensive system around it is priceless – as with Thomas Edison, genius often lies in designing the plug, wiring system and power supply, not the light bulb itself. So invite that vendor you had such a useful chat with to give you an on-sight demonstration – it might be worth more than the trip to the show. We’d like to hear your experiences of trade shows, and what you found interesting, useful, frustrating or pointless about them. Write to the usual address: nme@itp.com. Eliot Beer, Deputy Editor, NME||**||

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