UK Tech Week off to a feeble start

And another Comdex UK seems less than glossy - it's been 15 years people - face it, it doesn't work in Europe

This week is UK Technology Week, but judging by the attendance on the yesterday at Earl's Court, it must be pronounced a major flop. The Comdex UK 98 (incorporating Object World), Networld+Interop, and Expo Comm exhibitions were merged, but only managed to bring together 150 or so exhibitors. Instead of the 28 terminals that had been set up to register visitors, a couple would have done the job for most of the first day, as attendance was pitifully thin. There were also two associated conferences: UK.Com and Object World, plus the UK Comms Awards. EJ Krause & Associates, the US exhibition management company, said that there had been "two years of extensive research by independent organisations: Spikes Cavell, DataMonitor, Hulme Associates and Business Initiatives [none of whom were present as exhibitors]" that demonstrated the demand for "a single end-to-end technology event." The outcome shows that this conclusion was wrong. And the Web sites for the event were pathetic, and the documentation sloppy. The evidence is now that buyers want highly-focussed events that bring together vendors and users, rather than events that are supposed to "address the converging IT, telecoms and networking markets". One of the problems is undoubtedly a false assumption that what works in the US will work in the UK. A comparison between CeBIT in Hannover and the current event shows just how different things are in different European countries. Nor was the participation of the UK government very significant, consisting as it did of a picture of Tony Blair, wearing a beautifully-ironed blue shirt, saying in a printed message to attendees that "The government is committed to achieving leadership for the UK in the world's new digital economy". Barbara Roche, the small firms minister, added that "Our aim is to make the UK the world's leading electronic trading nation and UK Technology Week will help get us there." On the evidence of this event, that will never happen, although the organisers are planning a similar event for April, which they have also dubbed UK Technology Week. ® Click for more stories

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