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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dip in VON == Rise in Deployments?

For those who attended VON spring, it is likely that they thought it was particularly low key in terms of attendance. I was there, both at the main event and the unconference (which was interesting, especially with Ken's 'online' proposal to his partner Sheryl which was covered using Qik, a company started by Ramu Sunkara - ex head of RTC @ Oracle & a really inspirational guy. Congrats Ken & Sheryl, glad we finally met after reading each other's blog for a long time - you make a great couple).

But I digress. Back to VON San Jose. The Boston and San Jose VONs have always been very well attended. So I was surprised seeing the attendance. But then again, I thought, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. And maybe it is also a testament to how well VON has actually worked.

The 'Hype' of many technologies like IMS, WiMAX etc. have passed. If you look at the typical exhibitor space of VON, they are OEMs. OEMs build products before they get deployed. They need to publicize. They need to excite people. And that is exactly where VON helps them. When technology is 'new', you need forums like VON to spread the word. When technology gets into deployment, people are too busy deploying to actually attend shows and talk about them. This is when the 'money gets real'. The hooplah is over. And this is exactly in line with what I am seeing in the market. I had posted earlier that we have started seeing a significant rise in people deploying applications over IMS, or, deploying IMS and they are paying money for it (not the build and we will see story).

As far as I see it, VON has two important uses:

a) Ride the hype of new technology when OEMs are building products

b) Talk about what worked and what did not in terms of deployments (typically Service Providers or OEM case studies)

As far as the US& EU goes, a) is done. VON has served its duty. Jeff Pulver is a really smart guy. He has already started shows in Latin America. I really think he should start similar traction in India as well. Shows there (especially India) will be oversubscribed many times over. Because there, this is in the hype stage. The OEMs of the western world have now started deploying in the eastern side, so to the latter this is new. There needs to be momentum.

I know VON is also touting a lot of TV and broadcasting now, but I think it is a case of too much too soon. The market is already too saturated in having put in lots of money in other technology that has just moved out of the "hype" stage. It needs some relaxation :-)

I recently read some news snippets here and here. Don't know if the latter is true, but while I think the latter may have an effect on the future, it certainly was not related to the San Jose turnout.

Net Net: VON is great. It has a purpose. I think for a while, that purpose is served in this hemisphere. Go East my pulver friends! Go East!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on having VON in India. . Most of Indian mobile operators have outsourced their networks to players who have 3G experience in other countries of the world. But with VON Indian players will get more educated in 3G& converged services - which are mere words right now for them with most of them pressing their resources into finding out what will suit the Indian mobile ecosystem the best. Especially the part on what worked and what not worked -with case studies highlighted will help the players in India avoid the same mistakes of the west.