It's been a very busy month. Most of the Europeans were at or were represented at Embedded World in Nuremberg the first week of March. Many US and international players were also there. It is the largest European embedded show and at the same time at the other end of Germany, attracting all the mainstream press, was Cebit, the digital IT and telecommunications
Feelings at Embedded World were that the show was smaller with fewer people than last year, though in fact there were more booths (up 4%) and more visitors (up 16%)! So I put that down to better organisation and flow of visitors. Overall, the show was very upbeat and I got the comment that there were "more buyers than lookers."
I did some poking around to see if this was just bravado and bluff. But as best I can see, things really are looking up. Most of the suppliers were reporting a good Q1 "so far" and this reflects the view from my own company and a few others I know who give me accurate indications.
The market has changed in the UK and Europe. However, I think it is evolution not revolution. Companies always come and go it is just that 2009 accentuated the process. The problem is that economics is no respecter of calendars so I expect to see some more "evolution" in 2010.
This evolution is affecting many areas of the industry, including the shows. The ESC UK event, now called Embedded Live, is changing location and format which should generate new interest.
Another show, in mid-May in the UK, that has done a bit of "revolution" as much as evolution is the Embedded-MasterClass. With new sponsors for 2010 it has taken the interesting step of banning PowerPoint presentations in the conference! The reasons for this are multiple and they are not just confined to Embedded-Masterclass but affect most conferences, and indeed anyone who has to do presentations.
Firstly, we have the tendency for some companies to send along someone from marketing or "technical sales" (a rose by any other name.) to push out the corporate presentation and in some cases blatant product pitches. There is a class of company that insists that any company presentation must contain a set of corporate profile slides, who we are, where we are, how profitable and how many people we employ. Essential information for a takeover or share dealing, but of no relevance to an engineer or project manager. It has been this way for a couple of decades and since 2008, when banks and global corporations could disappear almost overnight and small start-ups can hold key technologies, there is no relevance at all.
The close relative of the Corporate Overview Introduction is the semi blatant product pitch dressed up as a technical presentation. Despite what marketing people think, both the corporate and product style of a presentation is actually counterproductive at a conference. To be honest, the corporate part is not much use at a sales meeting either. I have seen these sorts of presentation significantly contribute to the demise of an annual conference. The delegates would not come back to a conference that had a significant proportion of this sort of presentation. The "significant" number being two.