Since June 1988, AES's Gabrielle Stephens has been exhibition director of one of Australia's most popular PC trade expositions. Next month's PC 96 is the 17th PC Expo Stephens has organised and she believes that for resellers, end-users and exhibitors alike, it will be one of the most successfulBy early February, Stephens had received definite confirmations from approximately 250 exhibitors. "And, with several weeks still to go," she said, "we're expecting that it might go as high as 280." Although this expected figure is down on last year's 300, Stephens stresses that the show itself is 15 per cent larger in floor space.
"Exhibitors are making larger commitments in terms of space and participation," said Stephens. "We may well come up with 300 exhibitors - regardless, it's a bigger show than last year's, with more products on display."
Some of the new names appearing this year include Dell, Osborne Gateway 2000, and Siemens Nixdorf. Given their traditional direct-to-user sales strategy, the first two will provide little in the way of opportunities for resellers, apart from Dell's Indirect Channel Program which can be discussed with company representatives on the stand. More suitable for traditional resellers though is Siemens Nixdorf - rapidly emerging as a premier PC vendor.
Balancing the list of new exhibitors at PC 96 are a number of no-shows. Lotus, Compaq and Novell have all confirmed they will not be exhibiting at this year's Sydney show. While various media reports have hinted that the absence of these companies might affect the show's success, Stephens assured Australian Reseller News (ARN) that ". . . it will have no impact on the event".
According to Stephens, the participation of companies in exhibitions is a cyclic affair. "The PC show has witnessed sustainable growth over 13 years," she said. "Lotus wasn't exhibiting six years ago, and it certainly didn't impact the show then. When Novell purchased WordPerfect, attendance at the show suited that company's purpose. Now, with the company divesting itself of WordPerfect, it no longer suits the company to be at the show. As far as Compaq is concerned, while they may have pulled out of the PC expo, they'll be exhibiting at our Home Computer show later in the year."
The "Be Prepared" checklist
During the preparation of this article, we spoke to quite a number of exhibitors and resellers who have attended PC trade expositions around the world, and could best be described as experienced trade show attendees. Most of them had some advice for resellers attending PC 96, so we have condensed that information as follows:
1 Before you even enter the show, take some time to check the catalogue and show guide. This will enable you to better identify those companies in whose products you are interested.
2 Ensure you have a plentiful supply of business cards.
3 Many resellers are often called away from their "day at the fair" by a call from the office or a customer. Therefore, when you enter the expo, concentrate initially on your own area of interest to ensure taking the best advantage of your possibly limited time.
4 Once you're satisfied you've covered your own area of interest, look around for new product and business opportunities. The foreign exhibitors from Germany, UK, Taiwan and India are all looking for business partners in Australia.
5 When you pass your business card to an exhibitor, write your particular area of interest on the back. This is particularly useful when attending those stands which have a broad range of products, not all of which are of interest to you.
6 Ensure you provide fax details to the exhibitors. Many vendors will place you on their fax list for receiving new product and special sales information.
7 Be honest with the exhibitors. Don't make yourself out to be a bigger operator than you really are. Most of them are happy to deal with smaller operations, but few with time wasters.
8 If exhibiting, try to have something which catches the eye of the people you're trying to get to. You only have a few seconds as they walk past your stand.
9 If you need to speak at length with com-pany representatives, call them a couple of days prior to the show and arrange a specific meeting at either the exhibitor lounge or one of the catering areas.
10 Bear in mind that most of the exhibitors will not be prepared to discuss dealer prices with you while they're on the stand. The last thing they want is for end-users to overhear details on profit margins.
11 Take the time to talk to the technical staff about the product - there's more to be learned from these people than many a technical manual.
The Bavarian contingent has previously proven to be quite a drawcard during Australian PC shows. According to Michael Jauch from the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, "We have several first-time exhibitors at the Bavarian stand who do not have any existing contact with Australian IT resellers and who are actively seeking long-term business relationships with Australian partners.
"Many of the Bavarian companies will be showing exciting new products and developments, which we believe will meet with a very positive response from the Australian market."
This year's Bavarian exhibitors include:
Project management systems for professionals. Planning and control of single and multiple projects.
Flat-bed precision cutting plotter/router, and Geomouse/Board/Pen novel mouse and graphics tablet product.
Smartcard solutions for industrial applications.
PC-based document management and image processing solutions.
Otto Fahsig EDV:
PC-based flight training device. The system realistically simulates a single engine aircraft in operation, function and appearance.
A modular software package for the travel and tourism industry.
A range of dictation machines, including the new Steno 30 and microcassette.
Racks, cabinets and accessories for local- areaÊnetworkingÊandÊserver.ÊIndustrial furniture.
VPmaxNT software for raster image processing and vectorisation.
K-Box plastic enclosure system for computers, electronics, etc. Customer specific design and production without tooling or moulds.
A range of time and information recording systems for staff attendance recording and access control.
For further information about any of the Bavarian companies attending PC 96, contact the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce:
% (02) 267 3807
(02) 261 4475/4478
An exhibitor sampling
Dell Computer: Dell will have its full range of computers on display, including the OptiPlex GX desktops (90-166MHz), the Latitude Laptop range which uses the Intel low-power processors, and the PowerEdge Server range. While the company is maintaining its direct-to-customer sales strategy, resellers who are involved in vertical markets may well benefit from speaking to company representatives about Dell's soon to be announced Indirect Channel Program.
Tel: (02) 9930 3355
Fax: (02) 9930 3311
Lako Vision: One of the earliest resellers of multimedia technology, Lako Vision has moved towards a distribution-only model. The company is looking to expand its reseller base, and will be displaying and demonstrating a number of products for which it holds exclusive Australian distributorship rights.
Products on the stand will include the high-powered video editing products from German-based Miro Computer Products. They capture true motion video as standard AVI files. Complementing this will be Media Studio, a video editing software package from Taiwanese ULead.
Another product from ULead which will be making its world debut at PC 96 is Photo Impact software. A 32-bit Windows 95 image editing and composition product, Photo Impact is particularly useful for assisting in Web page design and is claimed by Lako Vision to rival PhotoShop in features. Representatives from ULead will be staffing the stand.
Lako Vision will also have a small theatrette on its stand where it will be demonstrating its products.
Tel: (03) 9525 3899
Fax: (03) 9525 3999
Creative Pacific: This high profile multimedia company's stand might prove particularly interesting to a number of resellers who are looking for more direct relationships with vendors. From 1 March, Creative Pacific will be releasing a new pricing structure for its product range, now directly available to the reseller channel.
According to Creative Pacific's marketing manager Nick Angelucci, "We will be implementing equitable price breaks right across the board for all resellers. Essentially, we're opening our doors wide for those resellers who wish to deal directly with us."
% (02) 9906 8887
Fax: (02) 9906 5577
Data-Tech Software: Distributors and co-developers of the popular accounting packages MYOB, MYOB with Payroll, Best Books, PayCheque Pro (developed entirely by Data-Tech) will, apart from their own stand, possibly be doing presentations within the Apple Solutions Expo area.
The company told ARN that one of the main reasons it exhibits at the show is to establish relations with prospective resellers.
% (02) 9955 3611
Fax: (02) 9955 3923
Hypertec: Hypertec told ARN that it is embarking on new product directions which would offer resellers many new opportunities. According to the company's group marketing manager, Michael McGrath, "We will be launching a number of new products at the show, including the most significant product in the history of Hypertec."
While Hypertec already has a large, well-established reseller base, McGrath said that company representatives are more than happy to talk to resellers wishing to add Hypertec's products to their range.
Tel: (02) 805 0111
Fax: (02) 805 0999
Texas Instruments: TI will be using PC 96 to launch the TM5300 133MHz Pentium-based notebook, its latest addition to the TravelMate series. The company will also be showing its 560 CD/CDT 75MHz Pentium models which feature built-in quad-speed CD-ROM.
TI is looking to establish contacts with a select number of resellers who focus on vertical markets.
% (02) 9910 3100
Fax: (02) 805 1186
RadioMail Australia: A public access mobile data messaging service, RadioMail has been "live" commercially in Australia since July, 1995. Using either Apple MessagePads, Hewlett-Packard Palmtops, Macintosh or Windows notebook computers, together with the Motorola Personal Messenger modem, RadioMail subscribers are able to send and receive messages to and from other subscribers, fax machines, pagers, the Internet, and corporate mail systems.
Following its decision to enter the telecommunications market via an indirect channel structure, the company is eager to talk to resellers interested in entering this market.
Tel: (02) 452 2666
Fax: (02) 452 2100
Borland International: Following the company's flurry of recent releases, Borland will be showing off its range of products which include: Delphi 2.0; Turbo C++ 5.0, which has Java 2 compliance incorporated; and Paradox 7 client/server.
The company's sales manager and channel representatives will also be staffing the stand, and are quite prepared to discuss the avail- ability of merchandising and beta products with any interested reseller.
Tel: (02) 240 1000
Fax: (02) 240 1010
Micrografx: The Micrografx stand will be divided into three specific areas: home, office, and the graphics studio. The company will be showcasing products for each specific market. A company representative told ARN that PC 96 would be the perfect opportunity for resellers to discuss the Micrografx Platinum Plan for extended volume licensing.
Tel: (02) 415 2642
Fax: (02) 415 2641
Agate Technology: Agate will be displaying a selection of Seagate Technology products at its stand this year. Included will be the first of Seagate's Ultra SCSI drives, which the company claims will double the maximum transfer rate to 40Mbit/sec, while maintaining backward compatibility with all previous SCSI implementations.
Information will also be made available to resellers on the Barracuda 2Gb and 4Gb low profile family, as well as Seagate's Fibre Channel product.
Tel: (02) 878 4688
Fax: (02) 878 4655
Oki: Oki Products Australia's stand will feature the company's full range of LED ecology-friendly printers and advanced facsimile machines, along with its first entry to the inkjet market, the OkiJet 2010.
According to the company, resellers focusing on any particular market will benefit from attending the stand, with printers ranging from entry-level to ultra-fast network.
Tel: (02) 698 8211
Fax: (02) 698 4043
Siemens Nixdorf: Resellers interested in pursuing channel opportunities with Siemens Nixdorf at PC 96 will have the chance to view first-hand many of the new products offered by the German-based PC vendor.
Launching at PC 96 will be the company's range of Intel-based Celsius technical graphics workstations. The company will also be launching its Primegy fileserver range. The Primegy 7 series is Pentium- and Pentium Pro-based rack mount server technology for mission-critical applications. ARN was told that the Celsius is "a pure value-added channel product".
Also on the stand will be the company's Pentium Pro desktop range and modular notebook range, including the mobile office.
Tel: (02) 439 6129
1World Systems: For the first time in Australia, 1World Systems will be showing the Alantec PowerHub range of multi-protocol switches for ethernet, fast ethernet and FDDI networks. Also on show will be the ShivA LanRover, a remote-access server providing network access from within a LAN to external and third-party services.
The 4-Sight network fax system allows Windows and Mac OS users to send faxes from their workstations via a central server. New to Australia, the company has created a bundle that includes a TribeLink 2 port dial-in and dial-out Internet Gateway, dial-out software, client WWW browsing, FTP, e-mail services, and includes a Hayes modem.
Tel: (02) 700 9266
Fax: (02) 700 9388
NJS Technology: On show at the NJS stand will be the DataPak 340, the latest edition of Kingston's line of PC Card hard disk drives. The disk has 340Mb storage capacity. The disk can take 750Gs of non-operating shock, ensuring that the read/write heads never come into contact with the recording service.
Tel: (03) 9562 1244
Fax: (03) 9562 1997