Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, John Rauser, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Madhavan Krishnan, VP, Cloud Solutions, Virtusa

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

Open Source Cloud: Article

Comdex: The Show that Ate Las Vegas Dies of Anorexia

Comdex: The Show that Ate Las Vegas Dies of Anorexia

  • Comdex Bites the Vegas Dust

    There won't be a Comdex this year.

    (Long pause for general chortling and rejoicing as shoemakers everywhere weep.)

    Industry ennui killed it.

    The current owners of the biggest money-spinner besides Microsoft ever spawned by the Computer Revolution claim they're "postponing" the thing to "reshape" it, which - according to the old VP of PR for the grand old Comdex, David Kaminer - is polite show talk for the show is over. "If you don't floor it," he said, "you 'postpone' it."

    The Las Vegas Conventional Center and environs are still expecting Comdex to pay for the space it reserved for November.

    It's hard to conceive of how much money changed hands and how much technology came to market and how many people made a living because Comdex existed.

    And Comdex existed because of the pre-PC foresight of a small-time show manager named Shelly Adelson, who in March of 1979 was inspired to create it by a start-up publication called Computer Systems News that was brought into existence for CMP Publications by a young, unseasoned, second-generation reporter named Maureen O'Gara.

    Starting in a small back ballroom of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that fall thanks to the support rendered by DEC's OEM unit run by Jake Jacobs, Comdex became, as the Wall Street Journal once called it, the "High Holy Days of High Tech," distinguished by the "miles of aisles" that inexorably enveloped the whole desert town until it took up a million square feet.

    It was, someone once calculated, "the largest non-religious gathering in America," the industry's great annual homecoming - and the people who came, armed with pens and a clinching handshake, were the decision makers.

    In its heyday, airlines flew because of it, convention centers were built because of it, hotels overflowed because of it and Las Vegas, originally a really cheap place to play, jacked its prices through the roof because of it.

    One year, conference director Peter Young lined up a guest speaker by the name of Bill Gates - a kid Shelly - who only learned of the booking later - dismissed as "that high school student" until Gates' picture suddenly started appearing on the covers of business magazines because his company just went public.

    Shelly always was lucky - that is if one considers luck the "residue of design and desire" like Branch Rickey, the "Mahatma" of baseball, did.

    Shelly sold Comdex at its peak to the Japanese-wannabe-big-time Softbank for $860 million. In April, 1995 that kind of sum was still real money. Shelly went on to buy the Sands Hotel, level it and build the Venetian among other hotels.

    Softbank, in turn, had its ups and downs, but Comdex still thrived - ultimately attracting 212,000 visitors and 2,500 exhibitors - until Softbank, which had also bought Ziff-Davis, found it necessary to focus on a core business and turned over Comdex to a Ziff-Davis spinout called the Key3Media Group, which had absolutely no knack for show business and turned the Golden Goose into a crude country pâté.

    The show lost its messianic appeal and its true audience, chipped away to a mere brand by bad management, the Internet, industry consolidation, changes in the distribution channel, rivals and Arab terrorism.

    By 2002, Key3Media was in hock up to its eyeballs and facing bankruptcy, its stock was worthless and had been drummed off the Big Board, half it board had quit and it was only able to meet its bank loans because of a windfall insurance settlement stemming from 9-11.

    Key3Media emerged from bankruptcy a year ago as MediaLive International Inc, which has been trying to keep Comdex alive as a B2B event. The last Comdex drew only 40,000 people and 550 exhibitors.

    MediaLive said Wednesday on the news of the show's cancellation that it's established a Comdex Advisory Board and has pressed some industry lights into putting their thinking caps on trying to dream up ways to salvage the show.

    It claimed that it could "still run a profitable Comdex this year," but "it does not benefit the industry to do so without broader support of the leading technology companies."

    MediaLive said it had commitments to join the advisory board from John Volkmann, VP, strategic communications, AMD; George Paolini, VP, general manager of developer tools, Borland Software; Mark Fredrickson, VP, corporate communications, EMC; Timothy Curran, CEO, Global Technology Distribution Council; Jeff Singsaas, director of events, Microsoft; Robert Shimp, VP, technology marketing, Oracle; and Peter Weedfald, senior VP, strategic marketing and new media, Samsung Electronics.

    Executives from Cisco, Dell and Intel have also agreed to join the board and invitations have been extended to other companies, MediaLive said.

    The next Comdex in Las Vegas, which they're thinking of turning into a user conclave, is scheduled for November 13-17, 2005.

  • More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

    Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

    Comments (1) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    Ivan Cruz 06/25/04 03:50:37 PM EDT

    > turned over Comdex to a Ziff-Davis spinout called the
    > Key3Media Group, which had absolutely no knack for show
    > business and turned the Golden Goose into a crude country
    > pâté.

    Nope. Comdex and many other bussiness (specialy tech publications) is just another victim of Internet. Why expend four figures to have news, trends and information I can have faster and fresher right from my desk?

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
    In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
    "There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
    "MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
    WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
    Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
    "Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    "IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
    "Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
    It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
    A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
    Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
    To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
    An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
    When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
    Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...