In December, my premier column discussed the numerous, drastic changes that have occurred in the imaging and printing industry over the last 10 years. Among the largest and most visible of these changes was the demise of our largest annual gathering—the fall COMDEX show in
Back in the 1990s, the annual November event regularly included numerous announcements of new printing and imaging products. In fact, there was so much to see that Lyra Research offered COMDEX attendees guidance via its “Power Tour” breakfast, a well-attended meeting held near the beginning of the event in a cavernous Vegas ballroom. At the breakfast, Lyra staff offered printing industry attendees a guide to “where to go and what to see.” The logic was—solid and welcome logic, I might add—that there were far too many exciting new imaging and printing products for show-goers to find them all on their own, with their limited amount of time and with their limited amount of energy, and Lyra was there to help out.
But, by the early 2000s, COMDEX had outlived its usefulness, it would seem. The sprawling show that took over
In my initial column, I commented, “I would argue that the pervasiveness of new product information on the Internet has made obsolete—or at least less necessary—the need to gather as an industry to find out what is new.”
Now, a couple of months and a few big and small trade shows later, I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to paraphrase Mark Twain and say that the rumors of the trade show’s death were greatly exaggerated (oops, I guess I just did), but I think I was wrong in generalizing that the demise of COMDEX is synonymous with the death of trade shows as a whole.
In my December column, I wrote, “While there remains a very large
From among the myriad of products at CES this year, CNET’s “Best of CES 2006” includes numerous single-function and multifunction printers, including ink jet products and devices based on monochrome and color laser technology. And one of our industry CEOs, Kodak’s Antonio Perez, was a keynote speaker along with the perennial Bill Gates and newbies Larry Page of Google and Terry Semel of Yahoo.
In short, COMDEX died. It had many problems. However, don’t forget that in the mid-1980s, COMDEX replaced the National Computer Conference (NCC) as the industry’s preeminent annual meeting place. (It had something to do with NCC attendees being baked to death in some overheated tents during a hot
There remains a need for those with like interests and business to gather in person, given the option. Conducting business face-to-face is still the preferred method of commerce throughout the world. Even companies without a direct consumer focus attend CES because that’s where they can meet their customers, of both the end user and channel variety. The trade show is a legacy of the marketplace phenomenon that helps define human society. Only so much can be done sitting all alone with a PC and broadband connection.