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VoIP Systems

A Pain in the Ash

1:10 PM -- European air travel appears to be nearing normality amid disruptions caused by the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, but that's not stopping some US-based vendors from taking special precautions as they get ready to participate in overseas tradeshows. (See Conferencing Erupts in Wake of Volcano.)

Among that group is VoIP gear and software firm Cedar Point Communications Inc. , an exhibitor at next week's IMS 2.0 World Forum in Barcelona.

Given the swath of flight cancellations and delays, the Derry, N.H.-based company considered shipping gear in the opposite direction, but soon discovered that custom laws would've made that approach a logistical nightmare. Plus, there's no guarantee that the goods would make it to their final destination on time, says Cedar Point director of marketing Jim Gayton.

"Our shipper said we could get into the queue for priority, but if it [the equipment] doesn't make it, then I'm really in trouble," he says.

Rather than take that risk, the company has decided to stage its equipment in the US and conduct the demos remotely over an Internet connection. Having the gear back home will make it easier to diagnose and troubleshoot any problems that pop up, but it will add a layer of complexity. Gayton also acknowledges that the Achilles' heel of the whole idea will be the quality of the Internet connection on the tradeshow floor.

But Cedar Point is the only vendor exhibiting at IMS 2.0 World Forum contacted by Light Reading Cable to admit it's pursuing any special contingency plans. A spokeswoman with Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT) said that company doesn't anticipate much of an impact, as preparations for the show are being handled by its local European offices. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) didn't comment about how the volcanic activity is influencing its plans for the show, but Europe is AlcaLu's home turf, so it's probably in good shape.

Still, the good news for Cedar Point and other exhibitors is that IMS 2.0 World Forum is a conference, not a massive tradeshow, so no one's really on the line to bring in tons of big iron.

The case will be different for the much larger, tech-heavy ANGA Cable Show, set to run May 4-6 in Cologne, Germany. Gayton anticipates running demos remotely at that show, too, just in case the volcano continues to wreak havoc on travel and shipping plans.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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