DUBLIN -- On his whirlwind tour of the annual ICT Expo, James Corbett said, "Good show but a few hours was plenty, for me at least, to see it all. My memory of the Comms show 4 years ago was that it was rather bigger." Ditto.
However, if your show goal is to rekindle business contacts, scavenge giveaway items, dig behind the facades, and introduce employers to potential staff, you need to spend six hours working the stands, sitting in sessions (who could miss Doc Searls?), baldly claiming promotional items, and blagging your way into receptions around the corner at the sumptuous Four Seasons. The inherent value in each of these activities lies in the appreciation that the un-show is as valuable as the set pieces on the showroom floor.
I went with a framework for analysis--trying to find companies that incorporate an understanding of Gartner's top trends of 2005 into their mission statements. I talked with only 11 vendors but none of them could relate to all ten of Gartner's predictions. I wonder what that says about the competitiveness of Irish software developers.
The ICT Expo was helpful for a handful of students who journeyed up from Clonmel for a look-see. Many came to find the web development companies. No such luck. They discovered webdev 2004 means swdev as a core skill. That's a valuable lesson to consider during the five hours of bus travel required on the day. The students spent more time sitting than walking around the RDS main hall.
You had to work hard to find quality trinkets at ICT Expo 2004. (I could find no "prize of a DVD player" in the hall but there was a contest involving one within 400m of the main entrance outside, unrelated to the expo.) As Corbett concludes, previous Comms shows were bigger, offered more variety, attracted larger crowds, and delivered a more potent punch for IT than the ICT Expo. Some of that is down to the organisers but most is due to there being bigger industry involved in the provision of telecommunications services to Ireland. Big companies have a marketing spend and they're less hesitant to using it, more likely to compete for footprint on the day.
James Corbett -- "Main hall" camerphone image.