I’ve been to some pretty big communications shows-the NAB annual shindig in Las Vegas, where exhibits and seminars were spread across the city and local podiatrists were raking in more than the slots; the every-four-years global telecom extravaganza in Geneva, Switzerland, where the closest hotel room (if you did not book sometime early in the 1940s) was 2 1/2 hours away on Mont Blanc; and several SuperComms, this one starting today in New Orleans, one of my favorite places.

Am I complaining? No way. My beef (or etouffee, in this city) involves the poor souls who have to deal with media types like myself before, during and after the convention. This is one of the few times during the year when the tables are turned-industry people calling ME repeatedly for information and a piece of my precious time.

While I did not receive a huge volume of calls from marketeers, the few that did filter down to me went something like this:

Marketer: “Hello, Ms. Wayne? I understand you are attending SuperComm this year. My company, Digital Widgets, would like to talk with you about an exciting new product we’re introducing. It slices, it dices, it has revolutionized the copper-wire industry.”

Me: “Does it have any application in the wireless industry?”

Marketer: “Well, no, not at this time, but it might, if we could get you to book a visit with us.”

While I realize these poor schnooks are calling from a press list that details only names and affiliations, there is something to be said for qualifying a customer. There is a marked and obvious difference between Telephony and Radio Communications Report. My guess is the callers are temps who are getting paid either by the number of bodies they recruit or the number of minutes they book. I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending in search of the illusive new wireless gizmo, but there probably are a few that will make it into the next issue.

Where you WILL find me is in many of SuperComm’s greatly expanded wireless panel sessions, which this year really focus on competition with the show’s traditional attendee group, the telcos. The POTS people finally have gotten the idea that wireless is here to stay, and that some of its applications actually may help revitalize and diversify their business futures. And our wireless brethren, even those who have made a fortune by embracing the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset, are considering the merits of wireless local loops, enhanced mobile data services and partnerships with the former enemy.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!


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