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NXTcomm's NXTmove

Phil Harvey

1:45 PM -- The scuttlebutt on the show floor at NXTcomm was that the NXTcomm show is in talks with CTIA to somehow link itself to that group's insanely popular wireless show, held every April in Las Vegas.

My sources say the CTIA is not in talks with NXTcomm, and that the CTIA hasn't been contacted by NXTcomm's organizers about any combination of shows or cross-promotional efforts. Why should it? The CTIA has momentum and NXTcomm is a show in search of its soul.

Such contact may happen at some point, though. NXTcomm has expressed its desire to be the carrier and broadband show of record -- and doing that implies that the conference would stage events, or at least some kind of gathering, both before and after its normal summertime tradeshow.

In the following clips, NXTcomm's executive director, Wayne Crawford, discusses his show's positioning, and I'll offer my critique below the embedded video players:

Trouble for TIA?
NXTcomm's challenge is an interesting one. And, while no one else wants to say this, it seems to me that if NXTcomm doesn't succeed in rallying the big equipment vendors and convincing them that it's their show of record, several of them might see their memberships to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as money they could better be spent elsewhere. The TIA is MIA without a strong industry show and the income its members provide. Take away one, and the other might soon follow.

United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) , NXTcomm's other owner, doesn't have as big a concern there, largely because of its distinction as the pressure group of the RBOCs. The TIA, however, has less going for it if NXTcomm can't find its groove -- or partner with a megashow that has real relevance to its targeted service provider audience.

It may just be that the show needs to narrow down its identity, rather than expanding it to fill all things broadband. NXTcomm's managers seem to think having a larger cable presence is a good idea. There's also this bizarre notion that NXTcomm should focus on attracting more content companies. I think content guys are interesting, but I don't know that the carriers have much use for them.

Is it too late for NXTcomm to go back to being a telco-only club? The top five telcos in this country alone have a combined market cap of $335 billion. Is that not enough of an ecosystem without courting cable, coddling content makers, and generally spreading a show so far and wide that no one cares about it anymore?

Perhaps NXTcomm should get real, move to a Tier-3 city and declare a permanent home, like The Cable Show has done. The nomadic nature of the show frustrates attendees and the vendors complain about that all the time.

Further, the positioning of representing "the entire ecosystem of network-enabled voice, video and data" has written a check that NXTcomm's simply not going to get big enough to cash. And the constant reminders in emails and advertising that "NXTcomm is replacing Supercomm" simply serve as a reminder to many of a bygone era, and therefore invite a stream of unfair comparisons.

So that's the state of NXTcomm as I see it. Now, what will NXTcomm do next?

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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