There was a time when technology events could fill large venues with crowds of visitors and row after row of exhibitors.

Sadly yesterday’s ITEX event in Auckland yesterday was nothing like that. There were a few hundred visitors and, maybe, a couple of dozen exhibitors. It was small by historic standards.

Small is not necessarily bad. The speakers I heard were good, especially Noah Broadwater from the Sesame Workshop. The exhibitor quality was generally high and the visitors even more so,

Clearly the organisers think it is better to get a few hundred IT budget holders and influencers than thousands of tire kickers.

One interesting aspects of ITEX is the way speaker sessions are held in the same space as the expo. This makes for a bustling atmosphere and works well, especially for the one stage keynotes. When all three stages are in action the place is like a three-ringed circus, I mean that in a good way.

My only criticism of ITEX is the venue. While the Viaduct Events Centre is the right size for ITEX, it is too far from car parking and public transport. Getting there and staying smart in a business suit on a rainy day would be a challenge. I also had a crick in my neck looking up at the high display screens on the main stage. Please fix this for next year.

Overall  ITEX is a good place to chat and meet people. I ran into a least a dozen people I was keen to see and there’s space to talk.

So, ITEX, put me down as a ‘yes’ for next year’s event.


Had an confirmation of numbers in a tweet from Computerworld:

4 thoughts on “ITEX 2012: small but nicely formed

  1. Greetings from across the dutch Bill.

    I wonder what your thoughts are on the reason for the epidemic of smaller events ‘low number of exhibitors and attendees’. Is it a reflection of the general recessed/depressed computer market combined with the pessimism people are feeling at present. There seems to be a similar tale of woe when it comes to trade expos in most segments of the Australian market.

    In a much more global and ‘connected’ market are trade shows becoming a bit of a waste of time? I’d like to think not. For mine, if trade shows and expos are like the print media being mistakenly seen as an outmoded form of promotion not worth bothering with, we are all going to be poorer for it.

    Why? I’m of the view trade shows and expos are the place you go to see new products, learn about new and smarter ways of doing things and to get inspiration which spawns great ideas…sparks the entrepreneurial spirit in us and so on. We’re certainly not going to get that from the net in the 1.6seconds we spend on average scanning a page.

    • Hi Tom

      There are a few things going on here.

      1. Big companies, like IBM, HP, Salesforce and so on now hold their own huge global events. That’s where their expo budgets have gone. They get 100% control of everything that way. It means they’re not spending money on the multi-brand events like ITEX.

      2. Companies further down the food chain get faster, easier measured results from online marketing. The total cost of taking part in a show is relatively high, mind you the entire cost is covered if staff can make one or two decent sales at an event.

      3. Global economy is poor, IT industry is not in good shape.

      I agree with you, being able to meet a ton of people in one place, for exhibitors this also means meaning competitors and potential partners is powerful, even if it’s hard to nail down the value.

      As for print media, I hear from some companies that still use it for advertising they now get great “cut through” and good results.

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