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Optical/IP

NXTgone?

I'm at the NXTcomm show in Chicago this week and wondering how much longer these large, multi-technology shows will remain relevant to the industry.

Certainly there are still major wireless companies here. I'm meeting some big names like Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) this week. But there aren't that many companies hanging wireless-related news off the show. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) unveiled its new WiFi mesh developments at a Californian cable operator's show. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications all announced new phones or upgrades at different shows or under their own steam.

I suspect that the European 3GSM Show (or whatever they are going to call it now) and CTIA in the U.S. will remain the must-attend wireless shows for the foreseeable future. It might even make sense for CTIA to start later in the year so that operators and vendors can spread their news out a little more.

Otherwise the future lies with the smaller, dedicated wireless shows that focus on a single aspect of the industry -- from mobile content to municipal networking and beyond.

This could be a bad outcome in purely human terms (and, no, I'm not thinking of Cisco's "Human Network"). It is always useful to get an outside perspective on the industry you work in, and a lot of people that once worked in wireless now work in Ethernet.

Nonetheless, specialist shows appear to be growing in attendance and importance. This is hardly surprising when you think about what a multi-headed hydra the wireless business is these days. Even at CTIA or 3GSM the smaller vendors get completely drowned out in the noise about the latest hip gadget or service. Specialist shows make sense if a company isn't getting the attention it feels it deserves.

The increasing convergence of multiple wired and wireless network types is the only technology trend that I can see changing the specialist show model any time soon. And, let's face it, we don't really know how well massive clusters of converged networks will work together yet.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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