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The city of New Orleans hosted the spring edition of the CTIA conference earlier this month — the last time this event was hosted at the Ernest N. Morial convention center was in 2005. While the event continues to attract a broad range of exhibitors focused on all things mobile — while CTIA doesn't release attendance figures, the concensus is that the number shrank from the ~40K that attended the 2011 Spring event in Orlando. Schedule wise, the event is challenged, as many enterprise mobility-oriented participants have had a busy first half of the year (event wise) with must-attend shows for a good segment of the ecosystem. Both CES and NRF are always scheduled for January, MWC and HIMMS are typically both in Feb. — May was extremely busy, with BlackBerry World, SAPPHIRE, Interop and the CTIA all occurring in the first 3 weeks of this month. While “conference fatigue” played a role in the level of participation at the CTIA event — it certainly didn’t help that Interop was scheduled during the same week. In fact, several folks I met with were able to squeeze both shows in (impressive).
As would be expected, Steve Largent kicked off the event with some bullish statistics on mobile device proliferation, and the need for additional spectrum. This theme was echoed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (a keynote speaker the first day of the show). The "spectrum issue" is sure to be a critical issue in the coming years, particularly when considering the rapid pace of device proliferation that continues to outpace the aggressive growth rates that many market watchers (including VDC) have predicted. There is no doubt that our congress and the FCC will need to make some difficult decisions in the coming months, and that spectrum policies will be continue to be debated.
The show kicked off this with the EMF's Appsolutely Enterprise event, where companies such as App47, Apperian, Bitzer Mobile and Boxtone were provided with a forum to detail their solutions and value proposition to the market. I did not have the opportunity to attend the event, but I did meet with several of the vendors that presented and their feedback was good — while the attendance at this event was less than expected, it was well received.
While the spring edition of this event primarily targets a consumer oriented clientele, there were two notable enterprise oriented announcements that caught my attention:
TeleCommunications Systems (TCS) announced its Enterprise Security and Protection (ESP) cybersecurity portfolio:
TCS has been readying this solution for some time, and has done well in productizing its solutions for the enterprise. TCS is looking to enterprise markets for growth, as the firm has historically been a strong player in government markets.
Fresh off of closing an $8M C round of funding in early May, Visage announced that it had entered into an agreement to integrate its MobilityCentral platform with Concur's expense management system using the Concur Connect platform.
While CTIA scored a coup with snaring Bill Clinton to keynote the final day of the show, it seemed like there were a lot of folks at the Louis Armstrong airport on Weds. evening. Overall, the show was a worthwhile event to connect with clients and catch up, as far as “news” goes — the above referenced stories sum it up, the timing just wasn’t there for a lot of participants who had already made Q1 announcements, and who are likely prepping their Q3 announcements. Roger Cheng from CNET wrote a good piece at the conclusion of the event, questionning whether the current twice a year format will be sustainable for CTIA — I think Roger has it right, I'm looking forward to the fall event in San Diego, the enterprise focus is the appropriate way to go for the association and their constituents in my view.
Stay tuned for my next event recap — SAPPHIRE Orlando.