United Business Media’s Everything Channel organization has taken what was once the largest trade show in the country, to which two hundred thousand plus tech industry geeks and suits would trek the week before Thanksgiving to Las Vegas, and is now getting ready to re-launch it as a virtual event. It has been years since the mighty COMDEX brand has been used for an event and Virtual Edge
wanted to share some thoughts from the event’s producers as they get set to open the doors. We spoke with Everything Channel’s CEO Robert Faletra to get an update and insight in to the transformation.
“First thing we learned,” noted Faletra, “brands matter. We had no problems getting into talk to anyone in the industry when we told them we wanted to talk about COMDEX.” The reality is that the market has changed quite a bit since the last physical COMDEX (in Las Vegas) in 2003. At its heyday, COMDEX had over 2,300 exhibitors but the market has consolidated tremendously and so has the “channel” of solution providers that would flock to COMDEX to meet with suppliers and see new products.
Faletra noted that COMDEXvirtual
is really picking up momentum and has over 10,000 attendees registered already and is at a run rate of 1,000 new registrants per day. “This is a launch so you can’t really know what attendance is going to be but the numbers are coming in really strong. We are quite certain that the exhibitors and sponsors are going to be very happy with what they get out of the event.”
Some of the biggest names in technology are sponsoring including Intel, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Samsung, RSA and Juniper Networks. There are 35 exhibiting sponsors so the attendee to exhibitor ratio is very high and booth activity should be high.
“We have over 100 speakers for the event with 13 tracks,” said Faletra. “There is a lot of nostalgia with COMDEX and we’ll have plenty of familiar Las Vegas elements but at the end of the day, attendees are coming to see what they should be focusing on for the coming year that’s why we always had the event in November.”
COMDEXvirtual offers a number of opportunities for meeting and networking, much like the original event. In addition to the dynamic expo booths that are open to the public, there are gated access hospitality suites. The suite hosts provide invited guests with a pre-determined entry code, ensuring security and privacy and the opportunity to conduct more focused discussions or present proprietary information to a group of partners or prospects. New programs can be rolled out there – new products can be demoed – focus groups can be conducted – and candid conversations can take place.
“And we even have a bar,” Faletra noted. “The VAR Bar is a public meeting place, where attendees can mingle in a relaxed environment. We have made this a fun space, where attendees can listen to a little bit of (clean) comedy, while their drinks empty and refill when clicked. This interactive feature brings back the nostalgia of COMDEX, and the fun and networking that took place after show hours.”