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Operation Overload

11:15 AM -- I'm no expert, because I spent a grand total of 20 minutes actually walking the convention floor here at McCormick Place in Chicago, but the main impression I heard from attendees at Globalcomm 2006 was: "Slow."

"It was slow all day until the last hour, and then it got crazy," a booth rat told me yesterday, after the exhibition hall shut down at 3 p.m.

"There's not really a lot of news this year," a correspondent for a competing news outlet mentioned as we wolfed stale turkey sandwiches in the pressroom on Tuesday.

Official total attendance at the show was just over 17,200, less than the 20,000 mentioned earlier by TIA president Matthew Flanigan and way down from the almost 53,000 that descended on Supercomm in its peak year of 2001. In part, of course, this is because of the split between US Telecom, which now puts on TelecomNext, and TIA, which stages Globalcomm.

Also, however, I suspect that the tradeshow calendar is getting overcrowded. It's now a truism to say that you could spend all your time roving from one big telecom convention to the next, and never get any actual work done. I, for one, prefer smaller, more focused conferences where you can actually connect in a meaningful way with company executives -- and where you can slide off more easily to the pool, golf course, or bar without feeling like the circus is going on without you.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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