Attitudes from the Publisher
While trade show fever may be at a low flush right now, we're not too far off from the rolling boil otherwise known as CES. Of course, this month sees COMDEX adding fuel to the fire. It wasn't too long ago that this IT showcase boasted more exhibit space and bigger attendee numbers than CES. How times have changed. Word on the street (and, yes, the information superhighway) is that participation will be down again this year, following a disappointing 2001 show. The tragedy of September 11 hurt both CES and COMDEX last year, but it's interesting to compare how the two shows were affected, and to what degree.
In spite of the havoc wrought last September by the terrorist attacks (and the wounded travel business, and the jittery economy…), the 2002 International CES managed to succeed, with a last-minute surge of exhibitors and attendees ultimately recognizing the show's significance, and making the commitment to be there. Last year's COMDEX, unfortunately, proved to be an exaggerated continuation of the show's dipping booth traffic.
There's an unmistakable message here: convergence. Computer manufacturers and the IT industry as a whole are concluding, gradually, that the most sustainable growth opportunities exist in the development of shared technology for the consumer as well as the business market. We've all heard the predictions that home entertainment will eventually be controlled entirely by and from the resident PC or Mac. And we all know that the growth of the CE market depends, in large part, on the evolution of computer technology, as evidenced by the explosion in hard drive-based music devices, PVRs, etc.