What Cannes film festival is to Hollywood, Supercomm is to the communications business, and it kicks off next week in Chicago. A virtual bazaar of all things communications, the shows attendance rose and fell with the fortunes of the telecom sector. It has had some lean years, but if the pre-show buzz is any indication, its going to be well-attended this year. My Inbox is already clogged with press releases, which I am ignoring for now.
More than 20,000 will attend it. Conference speakers include Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon Chairman and CEO; Duane Ackerman, BellSouth CEO, Kathleen Abernathy and Jonathan Adelstein, FCC Commissioners. John Chambers, Cisco CEO will be a keynote speaker. Other keynotes include Bill Owens, Nortel CEO and Pat Russo, Lucent CEO.
Still, from what I see there are going to be a lot of new products companies will be showing off – VDSL gateways, VoIP related gear, IPTV and all sorts of “buzz” making gear. The muddled message aside, the common theme here is that broadband and demand for broadband related services has helped telecom awake from its slumber.
The timing of the show is particularly bad for me – I am trying to close a story and thus cannot attend the annual gab fest. From folks I talked to, and analyst reports, I have assembled a Supercomm Conference Preview, the talking points edition:
* xDSL for Video Delivery – Expect most players to say that they will boost spending in this key arena, which is good news for gateway makers and other consumer premise equipment makers, especially those in Asia.
* Networks are going all IP/MPLS – mostly because there is belief that one single IP network is going to help reduce the operational efficiencies.
* Metro access infrastructure – Next generation SONET vs. Ethernet will be hotly debated. Expect everyone building new networks going to Ethernet, while incumbents take an evolutionary approach. This is going to be one of the hottest areas of telecom spending, so keep an eye out for news releases on this particular sector.
* Broadband wireless. Expect lots of news about how carriers want to use fixed wireless to fill out gaps in rural areas and for back haul services. WiMAX myth is going to get a reality check at the show.