If you were among the thousands who made the trip to Chicago's McCormick Place for NXTcomm 2007, you were no doubt impressed by the glossy and professionally run event. The show, which embodies the reintegration of the USTA and TIA flagship show efforts into a single concentrated event, delivered what many have come to expect – a well-planned and precisely executed, premier telecommunications event. The signage, venue, keynote lightshows, and other production touches were spot-on (though it's a touch surreal to watch a panel of mainstream CTOs walk onto the stage to the Timbaland-produced beats of Justin Timberlake's My Love. Talk about juxtaposition.)
Another impression you may have walked away with was that, in keeping with other events Pipeline has covered lately, the discourse was functional and business-oriented. The volume of hype and buzz was somewhat muted and topics like IPTV, which were the realm of study and theory at Supercomm '05, and even Globalcomm '06, were now in the forefront, and were being analyzed within a real-world context.
In keeping with the more realistic content, the general tone of the show was also business-like. According to Trevor Hayes, LTC International industry analyst, people on the exhibition floor did have some strong messages about their technologies, but seemed reluctant to make bold statements about the business impact. Hayes was in that particular case referring to DiTech Networks, whose voice quality optimization solutions have the potential to make VoIP, including peer-to-peer services like Skype, even more disruptive.
Within the software space, however, not everyone was making bold statements in meek ways. Some were making few statements at all. Some software companies we spoke to shelved press releases for later distribution after taking note of crowd levels that were less than anticipated. People were there, to be sure. While we don't have final tallies, there was definitely a solid turn out for the show. And, some booths were packed. These micro hubs of activity were seen at several exhibits, many of which were operated by hardware companies. In all, more than 500 companies elected to exhibit their latest technology at NXTcomm this year.
Speaking of booths, some of the displays were pretty spectacular. UTStarcom comes to mind, with its massive jetliner booth, complete with a satellite-clad Hummer protruding from the display. The Nokia display with it's clean Scandanavian lines and general mass was also interesting, and Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft were drawing crowds to their respective massive booths. Several vendors