Telcordia Dumps Tradeshow

Telcordia Technologies Inc. has bowed out of the tradeshow business and turned over the assets and management of its National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC) to the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC), Light Reading has learned. As a result, the standalone NFOEC, originally planned for September 12 to 16 in Anaheim, Calif., has been cancelled.

What will happen instead is that OFC will continue to have NFOEC programming and content at its annual show, which is scheduled for March 6 to 11, 2005, also in Anaheim. The combined OFC/NFOEC show will now have a broader focus, covering everything from technological advancements in components and equipment to technical education for service providers.

"[Telcordia] loved the show… but they understand that their core competency was not running conferences," says Elizabeth Rogan, executive director of the Optical Society of America, one of three non-profits that sponsor OFC.

Though it's getting out of the tradeshow biz, Telcordia is still going to work with OFC management to provider conference content and audience outreach for the NFOEC-related side of the combined show, Rogan says.

Put bluntly, Telcordia managed tradeshows about as well as a group of meeting planners could write Operational Support System software. While OFC ran over some speed bumps during the telecom recession, the show always remained much larger than NFOEC. In February, OFC show management says, the conference featured more 640 exhibiting companies and was attended by 15,000 delegates.

NFOEC, on the other hand, has been the kind of place where journalists ribbed show management for their Spartan media facilities. It was the kind of place where company mascots constantly worried that their giant foam heads were in harm's way (see NFOEC Scrapbook and Ciena Mascot Assaulted at NFOEC).

The NFOEC 2003 show, held in the cavernous Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center, was among the most poorly attended in recent years. Officially, the conference says it hosted 3,000 attendees and 150 exhibiting companies. Contrast that with NFOEC 2001, which boasted in its marketing materials that it expected more than 15,000 attendees and more than 350 exhibitors.

Rogan won't comment on what OFC paid for NFOEC, or whether the combined conference will have any revenue-sharing with Telcordia.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

particle_man 12/5/2012 | 1:42:58 AM
re: Telcordia Dumps Tradeshow Larger company buys(?) competitor and kills product line.

I suppose I can't chide OSA for a profit motive with this move. I hope they do add some more application tracks at the next OFC as a result.
douggreen 12/5/2012 | 1:42:49 AM
re: Telcordia Dumps Tradeshow Many of us can remember what the "C" in NFOEC used to stand for. It was a technical conference, and the "show" part of it was a few small booths set up in the ballroom of a hotel. THe primary target audience was engineers sharing information about emerging optical technologies, not VCs looking for investments or vendors selling products. Lots of pocket protectors. Presentations with complex equations and few pictures. (Telcorida was actually very good at managing that kind of conference).

During the "bubble", it became a trade show. Although the Telcordia made a valliant effort to screen the papers for pure marketing pitches, the technical tracts were still partially taken over by vendors hyping products (OK, perhaps I was even one of them). Not all of the changes were bad, but the technical part was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the "show."

At the same time, there was still a lot of technical content if you were willing to be selective in the sessions you attended. The screening process for presenting a paper was still significantly more stringent than OFC. I worry that this may now be lost.

Is there room for the re-creation of another true "engineering" conference in the spirit of the original NFOEC, or have we decided to completely outsource our technical innovation and become a pure "marketing" country.
moose 12/5/2012 | 1:42:41 AM
re: Telcordia Dumps Tradeshow douggreen wrote:

"Is there room for the re-creation of another true "engineering" conference in the spirit of the original NFOEC, or have we decided to completely outsource our technical innovation and become a pure "marketing" country. "

There has always been a technical communications conference - have you forgotten about the International Conference on Communications (ICC) sponsored by IEEE?

I also remember the "old" NFOEC. There used to be "RBOC only" closed sessions plus open sessions. There were even poster sessions (which I had the pleasure to present a paper at - what a trip!).

I think NFOEC recently had a few critical problems. Chief among them was the "content free" quality of many of the papers, particularly from the carrier speakers. I think as the carriers finally realized they were competing with each other, they erred on the safe side of disclosing nothing. As I have heard it from many carrier planners, "We will tell more details of our plans to the vendors that we choose."

By the way, it did not help NFOEC that the last two conferences conflicted with the Jewish High Holy Days.
lollapalooka 12/5/2012 | 1:42:17 AM
re: Telcordia Dumps Tradeshow The trick for the combined show will be to schedule stuff so that attendees can go to a session and not miss every other session relevant to their interest. Hopefully sessions will be spread out timewise and not all scheduled at the same time.
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