The 2012 EDUCAUSE Exhibit Hall (the vendor floor) features 270 edtech companies.
From Aastra (booth #669/671 - audio and video conferencing, business continuity, disaster recovery, emergency planning, cloud computing and services, enterprise information systems, wireless) to Xirrus (booth #627/691 - hardware, identity and access management, network infrastructure, network security and applications, wireless) - with anyone and everyone in the edtech space (except Apple) in between.
I love the vendor floor. I come to EDUCAUSE largely for the vendor floor. But I'm terrible (honestly) at the vendor floor.
The problem is that I get overwhelmed. Overstimulated. Too much noise. Too many options. Too many people. Too much information.
I'm curious about the products and services in the booths, but I'm afraid to ask too much as I don't want to be caught in an overlong conversation.
I want to watch the demos, but I'm unsure if the time invested will be worthwhile.
I'd love to put my hands on all the hardware on display, but I don't (necessarily) want to engage in a conversation with the good people staffing the booth.
When I do want to engage with a company representative it seems as if they are already in conversation with other people.
Some people in the booths wear polo shirts with the company logos. Some people wear suits. Are these people different? How can I tell?
Every person who works at the companies that I speak with at the booths is so persuasive about why their product or service is better than the competition. The best LMS. The best lecture capture solution. The best media management. The best online synchronous classes and video conferencing. The best analytics. The best networking. The best security. The best virtualization. The best help desk software. The best. The best. The best.
Every booth I leave I become depressed that I have already purchased a competing service or product, the wrong product or service.
Does the digital signage look as cool to you as it does to me? Why isn't every sign on our campus digital yet?
Have you seen what they can do with mobile campus apps lately?
Does every company have "cloud" in its tagline?
I need a better exhibit hall strategy. A plan for the vendor floor. Perhaps a guide.
Would I want the exhibit hall to be anything different? Not really.
Will the vendor floor get louder and crazier every year at future EDUCAUSE's? Definitely.
Is it a worthwhile investment for companies to invest in a booth? No doubt.
Will I be back on the vendor floor today? Of course.
What is your exhibit hall strategy?