Venture Development Corporation (VDC) published the following report and perspective on the Embedded Systems Conference held earlier this month in Boston . . .
by Chris Lanfear and Steve Balacco
A Smaller, Leaner Conference, Offering Exhibitors New Opportunities
At the recent ESC/Boston conference, VDC had an opportunity to visit and speak with a number of exhibitors. CMP Media announced that 4,000 attendees were expected. In the midst of a difficult economy and a number of embedded software solution provider no-shows such as Wind River, Microsoft, MontaVista, Telelogic, many major semiconductor manufacturers, and others, most exhibitors expressed low expectations going into the show. However, attendees seeking out solutions for their embedded projects constantly filled seats in exhibitor booths offering demonstrations which could be the result of less companies vying for attention. In the end, exhibitors consistently advised that they were not only pleased by the foot-traffic in their booths, but more importantly by the quality of attendees of the embedded computing community. By the way, we found the best booth give-a-way, although maybe not the most nutritional, to be the fresh baked cookies at the ARC International booth! Our advice: More cookies, less foam toys.
The Embedded System Conference(s) have long served as an opportunity to bring vendors and embedded developers together to better understand product offerings and technologies to help developers build their products. It has also served as an opportunity for exhibitors to network and establish strategic alliances in establishing partnerships and sales channels. The medium itself targets a horizontal view of the embedded systems market. That is, it represents the entire industrial spectrum of the needs of embedded developers. However, we see a maturing strategy evolving from embedded software solution providers. This maturing strategy is much more focused on satisfying the needs of embedded developers within various defined market segments.
This goes beyond Wind River's recent announcement to offer a more extensive line of product and services bundles for specific vertical markets and applications. Vertical bundles have been around for many years (as have subscription plans we might add) though they are becoming better defined and more widely available. In speaking with many companies at the show, we heard well articulated strategies based around attacking specific vertical markets or device categories, which matched up well with each company's technology, product offerings, internal knowledge and chosen business model. This speaks to a larger issue, which is the transforming of embedded systems vendors from being technology driven, to marketing and customer driven.
It is much easier when times are good and marketing budgets are fat to participate in these types of horizontal conferences. It is much more difficult when times are not so good and companies with scarce marketing resources are looking to invest in those opportunities where they can achieve the highest return on investment. We expect that this maybe what is driving some companies to pull out of shows like the Embedded Systems Conference. Companies are now focusing their attention on industry specific shows in automotive, consumer electronics, military, aerospace, industrial automation, and others. These are shows and conferences where exhibitors will match their maturing strategies in specific markets and where they hope to get the best bang for their marketing dollars.
Don't get us wrong, we love ESC. It represents an opportunity to meet with our clients and others from a wide variety of embedded disciplines in a short amount of time. Will ESC go away? We doubt it, but clearly the show is under pressure.
[We] have long said that ESC is great for the big companies which have a wide appeal across many markets and geographies and not so great for small niche companies. Perhaps, it is just the opposite, where the large companies are too laser focused on a few markets to realize the ROI they require and the startups and small companies are using ESC as still the easiest way to get their name out into the market.
The Embedded Systems Industry Bulletin is published as part of Venture Development Corporation's “Embedded Software Strategic Market Intelligence Program”. Copyright 2002 by VDC, all rights reserved. Reproduced by LinuxDevices.com with permission.
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