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Gigabit

Supercomm Reborn!

The folks who brought you NXTcomm, Globalcomm, and TelecomNext are going back to their roots, in a sense, by returning their annual tradeshow to its old Supercomm name.

But this won't be your same-ol' Supercomm. This time, it's all about broadband.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) are announcing today that they're resurrecting the Supercomm name for their June 8-11, 2009, tradeshow in Chicago.

They've come full circle in presenting the show that used to be Supercomm, got split in two, and was then fused back together as NXTcomm. (See TIA, USTA Split on Supercomm and Globalcomm & TelecomNext Rejoin Forces .)

Wayne Crawford, executive director of what was NXTcomm, has resigned. Jim Forlenza is serving in his stead while the Supercomm committees seek out a replacement (with Forlenza being a candidate).

Light Reading first caught wind of the name change in August, and a subsequent poll had readers overwhelmingly saying "Supercomm" was a better name than "NXTcomm." (See Supercomm Returns?)

Possibly for that reason, USTelecom president Walter McCormick says the return to "Supercomm" is being made due to customer demand and "in response to Light Reading's demand." (Light Reading's other demand, that the show move to Hawaii and pick up all journalists' bar tabs, has been taken under advisement.)

The new show has its own URL and everything: http://www.supercomm2009.com.

The name ties the show back to its glory days of the past -- except, wait! They don't want you to think about the past, when Supercomm was about building the core network.

Instead, Supercomm 2.0 focuses on broadband and applications. That's what was on the minds of the carriers and vendors polled by Supercomm organizers.

"What they said was really needed was not a show to sell them a piece of equipment -- a box show. They wanted to see new applications and services," McCormick says.

But can't we already talk about broadband at the Broadband World Forum?

"You don't have the backers behind Broadband World Forum that you have behind this show," McCormick says. When you're considering names like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), he's got a point.

Still, Supercomm is going to have to prove it can live up to its new charter.

Some industry executives have been questioning whether an industrywide tradeshow is even necessary any more; booth costs and the lack of customer contacts rank high among complaints. It doesn't help that the U.S. carriers seem intent on merging into each other, making the customer base smaller. (See NXTcomm's NXTmove.)

Moreover, the buzz of the industry has shifted to areas such as wireless. One analyst recently suggested to Light Reading that Supercomm's lost luster could be found at shows like last February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (See Barcelona Was a Blur.)

Obviously, Supercomm organizers believe their show can still be relevant. "We believe the industry still wants to have a forum to collaborate," says Grant Seiffert, president of the TIA. But what will Supercomm do to be better than NXTcomm? The specifics are still being determined. Supercomm is off at the spa for a makeover, if you will. That means no word yet on how keynotes, educational sessions, or exhibit spaces might be changed.

Before you ask: No, they don't know where the show will be in 2010. Las Vegas was still in contention, last we heard. (See NXTcomm Body Count.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:32:19 PM
re: Supercomm Reborn! Wouldn't surprise me...

I also wonder if they're rethinking Vegas. Much as I like to gripe about Vegas, the idea seemed OK (and a couple of people suggested to me that Vegas is offering lower rates to try to attract conventions, which would help explain why Dan Jones has had to go there 4 or 5 times this year)..... but "I'm going to Vegas" sounds an awful lot like a boondoggle, and you have to wonder if that lowers the carrier presence at the show.
nodak 12/5/2012 | 3:32:40 PM
re: Supercomm Reborn! I wonder if the other past memories they want to avoid have to do with vendors spending 1000s at "shoe shows."
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:32:40 PM
re: Supercomm Reborn! Changing the show's focus was necessary; that's good. Changing the name, I don't know... itjust opens them up for more jokes. Sticking with "NXTcomm" might have been the way to go.

But how do you make the show sing again? I'd like to see fewer and more meaningful keynotes, although I realize there's a business aspect that might make this unrealistic.

That's a triviality, though, compared to the many vendors who've talked to us over beers or coffee during the past couple of years, questioning the need for a big tradeshow at all. I'll go to Supercomm, I'll be glad to go, and I'll probably get a lot out of it -- but will the vendors footing (some of) the bill say that?
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