Monday, 10 September 2007

GITEX - A Dull Show?

It’s day three of The Show To End All ShowsTM, GITEX, and there’s barely an inspiration to share. The papers are talking about the TV screens on display, which speaks volumes. Only yesterday’s Al Eqtisadiah has broken ranks so far and been publicly highly unimpressed in its front page story.

It has to be said that GITEX is looking like a show that is heading fast down the same road as Which Computer, Comdex and the world's other major horizontal IT trade shows. You don’t go GITEX to enter the Middle East market any more (at least not if you’re a multinational key brand). And you don’t do GITEX if you haven’t got a channel but would like one (there are a million other ways to recruit a channel – besides, everyone who matters has an establishd channel). And you surely don’t do GITEX just to stay ‘in’ with the government (that’s just na├»ve, no?). The increased frequency of today's product life cycles also means that companies are less willing to hold back products to launch at exhibitions.

And so more and more organisations are realising that they don’t actually have a solid reason to spend the very considerable amount of money it takes to put on a display at the show. This is something that could well be construed as a call for the organisers to significantly re-invent the show: and, in my view, it’s going to take vision, creativity and really smart management to keep the GITEX exhibition relevant to pretty much anyone that matters.

The transformation should arguably have started three years ago. I do wonder if they can compress that into the coming 12 months. If they can, then perhaps there’ll be a show worth attending next year.

How ironic, then, that GITEX should become a victim of its own success. Let's hope they rethink it before it's too late.


Anonymous said...

Another problem was the hordes of people leaving and being unable to get back to their hotels for ages because there were not enough taxis especially at normal rush hour time. This led to some trying to figure out buses (!) and even start the long march down the Sheikh Zayed Road with inadequate maps! Shuttle bus service anyone??

Alexander said...

Taxis were avoiding GITEX because they didn't want to get stuck in the traffic. Visitor numbers were obviously down from being in the halls, but traffic was pretty bad at at times because there was little/no traffic management...

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