I only bought an exhibition pass so I didn’t attend any of the keynotes. But to be truthful I didn’t have much time to sit through them and one hardly ever learns anything new or interesting from them so I saved myself the extra bucks on registration fees by sticking to Show Floor category. I have to say the keynote speakers were hardly big hitters anyway. Pretty tame stuff really but they did finish off with William J Clinton who did draw a crowd. Someone said to me in the Starbucks queue ‘howdy, you look like the man himself’. He was referring to the other Bill (I think) but I pointed out that ‘I doubted he would be 15 deep in the coffee queue somehow.’ ‘He’s a man of the people’ my new friend said. Perhaps I thought ‘but I’m sure somebody would be getting his skinny latte for him. Separated at Birth?
Anyway, I missed ‘cousin’ Bill’s keynote speech which is a stain on my copybook. Other than how to run an intern programme I’m not sure what I would have learned from Bill anyway. He spoke about the need for a light hand – in regulation I think!
So on day one I am up at 4:00am. Usual jet lag stuff. So I do a bit of work and then take shower, have an early breakfast and get myself over to the convention centre by 7.30am when the doors open and registration begins. Knowing what the queues are like at MWC on day one, I didn’t want to be at the back of the mad crush. By 7.31 I’m registered.
The first keynote, which I’m not attending, is at 9:00am and my plan is to walk the exhibition floors until 11 o’clock when I have my first meeting of the day scheduled. So with time to kill I head off to the Starbucks for breakfast number two – but I am on extra skinny lattes, so it doesn’t count. Anyway, the free WiFi is at Starbucks so it’s a good place to kill time. I discover later that the exhibition floor also shuts at 5:00pm. 11 till 5! What sort of opening hours are they? Definitely one up to MWC here.
There is a huge retail section in the conference (unlike MWC) and I discover that there are thousands and thousands of different mobile cases one can buy. Leading edge stuff this.
The rest of the floor is the usual exhibition mixture of old and new. I’m always intrigued by who is not exhibiting. I think this always tells one a lot about the show. So no Alcatel Lucent and no Nokia Siemens Networks. Now NSN I can sort of understand but ALU? In the USA? Blimey we’re even in French New Orleans so you’d have thought even the Alcatel branch would be OK to come here. So Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE dominated the infrastructure space. Apple of course are not here but as at MWC they still managed to cast a long shadow over the event.
No naughty CBOSS here but no shortage of short skirts and white teeth. I got though a lot of business cards but never did win the promised iPad. Sure has increased my spam count though.
It struck me walking around the hall that for the vast majority of exhibitors, I wouldn’t have a clue what they did from just looking at their stand and reading all their banners. We do work in a strange industry.
The main themes of the show were much as one would expect in the main. LTE, data off-load, small cells, IP traffic management, LTE WiFi combo plays, lots of devices – but nothing new, mobile money was big as was NFC and they go together now. Can we have some more spectrum please was another common rallying call. Oh, and M2M is the next big thing – so it’s official – as an industry, we’ve run out of ideas.
Congratulations to LG and the marvellous flash dance by all the staff on the stand.
What else (apart from short skits sells?). Well, HTC were blowing bubbles (doesn’t that song contain the line “and like my dreams they fade and die”).
So my final thoughts on CTIA 2012. A well organised and presented show. For the astute visitor there is more to be leant on the exhibition floor than in the keynotes. The wireless industry, from a carrier’s perspective, is undergoing fundamental change. The role of the carrier, the importance of the network and customer ownership changes are big issues the mobile operators need to grapple with but somehow not addressed at this show. This may well be because the answers are never going to come from a trade show. That doesn’t detract from the value of a trade show such as this which is more geared towards the technologies that serve our industry rather than strategies.