The strength of community

The strength of community

I've been to a couple of events in the past week that really hammered home the sense of community that's such a feature of the local IT industry.

The first was the Sydney leg of Ingram Micro's ExpoTech national road show, which took place at the city's convention centre last Wednesday evening. Some trade shows have been accused of lacking focus because they attract a mixture of business and consumer attendees, which can make it difficult for many exhibitors to get their pitch right. For example, Arab Bank of Australia's IT manager, Greg Walmsley, labelled the local CeBIT 'the Paddy's market of IT' in an interview with ARN's sister publication, Computerworld, last year, questioning its suitability for enterprise buyers. So maybe the 'something for everybody' approach is losing appeal.

The strength of Ingram Micro's ExpoTech tradeshow lies in the fact that exhibitors and attendees have a clear understanding of each other. The distributor claims close to 1000 resellers walked the floor of its Sydney event last week, with more than 50 vendors displaying their wares. For resellers, the show is a rare chance to get their hands on the latest and greatest products of many vendors in a single location. Vendors have staff on hand to provide detailed information and are aware that they're preaching to an educated audience. That makes things easier for both sides.

But on top of that, the show is also a great networking opportunity where people in the industry can bump into former colleagues and friends they haven't seen for a while. It's also a good place to meet some interesting new people - did anybody else get chatting to a lady who wanted to tell them all about the many life-positive benefits of biorhythms? She seemed more than a little peeved that I didn't engage her in meaningful conversation on the topic.

Quickly changing the subject, as I did last Wednesday night, the second event I wanted to mention briefly was ARNs Industry Lunch, which saw more than 100 of our business partners come together to do a bit of networking. Attended by mostly senior executives from major vendors and distributors, it was a great afternoon, but I deny suggestions from Intel's Andrew McLean that I wore a suit he gave to St Vincent's last month.

On a more serious note, the lunch featured a presentation from the managing director of ARN's parent company IDG Communications, Don Kennedy, which highlighted the breadth of knowledge that our stable of publications pulls together from all manner of end-user including the humble consumer and the largest of enterprises.

In the next few weeks, ARN will start presenting some of that customer focused information to the channel to help our readers keep up-to-speed on everything from hot consumer electronics products to what's occupying the minds of the country's CIOs. That's another service we can provide that cements our place in this fantastic community.

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