Another one bites the dust.
Hannover Fairs USA has canceled the 2005 CeBit America technology trade show, the second such cancellation of a tech conference this year.
CeBit America, which was to have taken place in June at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, was the smaller sibling to CeBit in Hannover, Germany. That show, which drew an astounding 510,000 attendees earlier this year, dwarfs even Comdex when it was at its peak.
In a statement, Joachim Schafer, president of Hannover Fairs USA, said the cancellation of the show was "regrettable" but is the "correct business decision [because] it has not generated enough revenue to justify a third year."
According to the Computer Event Marketing Association, the 2003 show attracted a little over 8,500 attendees, a dismal showing for a multivendor event showcasing, as the Web site says, "a broad mix of products and services."
The event was likely too broad; too broad for real customers looking for specific solutions to their business problems, and too broad for attendees to rise above the din. Consider that a well-attended single-company event, such as PeopleSoft's customer conference in May, drew about 2,500 attendees.
The German show, which is held annually in March, is an amalgamation of every consumer- and business-oriented conference hosted in the U.S. rolled into one. So large is the conference (and scarce the hotel rooms) that many attendees are forced to rent bedrooms in the flats of locals.
In June, MediaLive International, the organizer of Comdex, made a decision that most saw coming for a while. The company said it would suspended Fall Comdex in 2004 but would return, in a smaller, more focused form, in 2005.
Comdex has shrunk in size, both exhibitors and attendees, for several years. IBM and Dell were two of many companies who sharply curtailed their presence (and the ensuing dollars from renting floor space) at the Las Vegas event.
Does that mean that tech-related events are dead? Hardly. But they'll be focused on pressing issues and tech breakthroughs rather than the kitchen sink. For example, Gartner will host its annual symposium in October, which will feature 5,000 attendees and discussions with Intel's Craig Barrett, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy and Cisco Systems' John Chambers.