September 7 - 9, 2016
Sands Expo & Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: Estimated less than 30,000
Exhibitors: Estimated 900+
Media and Analysts: 150
2016 was the last CTIA Super Mobility event. HALLELUJAH! The last time (hopefully) this show is held in Las Vegas during Labor Day week. The same week Apple hogs the spotlight and launches their newest products in San Francisco. Can we get another hallelujah?
Next year, CTIA Super Mobility will evolve into a new joint event when it becomes Mobile World Congress Americas. CTIA will partner with GSMA, who will produce and manage the 2017 event. (Watch for Calysto’s upcoming PR Vibes Q&A on Mobile World Congress Americas with Michael O’Hara for further details).
Timing is everything. Especially when it comes to what should have been one of the biggest events of the year in our industry.
“What was interesting was that unlike any other show I’ve ever attended, the best meetings happened impromptu, rather than pre-scheduled,” said Laura Borgstede, CEO at Calysto. “I definitely think the unfortunate timing of Super Mobility – the week of Labor Day and the Apple event – has been detrimental to a show that’s so important.”
Many attendees commented that the timing of this year’s event again affected the show, and some came away with the feeling that the show went “downhill” from last year. However, like any live event, there were positives and negatives.
From a senior marketing manager in the IoT industry: “I thought the presentations this year were very good. Great lineup of diverse speakers, but would have liked to see more emphasis on non-cellular technologies. The show was MUCH lighter than last year, from a traffic perspective. Additionally, there were many large exhibits toward the front of the hall that were not even staffed, assuming that those companies decided to opt out of participation. We had several marketing initiatives which drove traffic to our booth, so we were happy with the outcome, even though our location was less than desirable. For next year, I would like to see more emphasis on non-cellular technologies in the program, as well as interactive floor marketing, such as on-site videos and additional presentation stages peppered throughout the floor.”
“There was definitely an overall excitement that GSMA will be taking over the conference in hopes that it will become a show people and companies look forward to attending, from an educational and opportunity perspective,” commented Calysto’s VP of Corporate Development Marissa Evans.
“It’s always very important to attend industry events that are core to our business. Given that Morey has been in the IoT space for more than 20 years, going and spending time with our suppliers, our partners is incredibly important and strategic to find out what’s going on, hear the latest and greatest. It helps us stay informed and make good business decisions,” said Ryne DeBoer, Vice President of Business Development at Morey. “For us, CTIA Super Mobility was a good event. However, we’re looking forward to next year at Mobile World Congress Americas.”
The Buzz. Spectrum, 5G, M2M, IoT, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, drones, security and wireless network performance.
When commenting on what was important, Monica Alleven, FierceWireless, wrote, “Another theme that I heard more than once is the need to explain what 5G is to people in ways that will make them understand and actually want in. It’s not enough to talk tech and how faster speeds and low latency are going to save the day. The industry needs to do a better job of illustrating how 5G is going to improve their lives, lead to safer streets, better jobs and stronger security, both online and off.”
And regarding security, “The possibility of cybersecurity regulation wasn't exactly a skunk at last week's celebration of wireless communications,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s Charlie Mitchell, “but the issue hung over a massive three-day industry convention here and revealed ongoing anxieties about how it should be addressed in the cyberspace.”
Keynotes. Speakers included Tom Wheeler, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and executives from AT&T Mobility, Verizon, Qualcomm, Nokia and the Chernin Group. The last ever CTIA Super Mobility show closed with a fireside chat with musician, producer and 10-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Legend. (FYI: @johnlegend’s favorite song: “Got to Give it Up” by Marvin Gaye.)
Hot session topics were cybersecurity and privacy; intelligent networks; mobile retail; enterprise IT and industrial IoT; connected life; and policy and spectrum.
New for 2016. CTIA Smart Experiences was a collection of interactive destinations that offer a glimpse of a Smart City and saw good traffic. “One of the smartest things CTIA show organizers did was the Smart City Park, an area on the show floor highlighting interesting and innovative implementations of smart city technologies. Big leafy creatures – including one on stilts -- walking around the area certainly drew attention, and a lot of show attendees used the area to sit and collect their bearings,” noted Mike Dano, FierceWireless.
Exhibition Hall. CTIA organizers projected to have more than 1,000 exhibitors, but it seemed to us that many likely pulled out at the last minute. Reviews were mixed. Some felt traffic was lacking, others had a good show with lots of good meetings.
Media and Analysts. Media attendance went down again, even compared to previous years. Last year there were approximately 170, the year before there were 325+ media and analysts. Although we don’t have confirmed attendance numbers, there were 150 registered media and analysts for 2016. Some of the registered media included Asian Press, ABC, GPS World Magazine, CIO, NBC, FierceWireless, GPS World, iBusiness Magazine, Mobile Marketer, eWeek, PC Magazine, RCR Wireless, IoT Evolution, Telecom Reseller, and Wireless Week.
CNET covered the show last year, but this year’s mention was limited to covering the announcement about the demise of CTIA and next year’s show.
“One observation about this year’s show that I heard was the quality of attendees was higher than some past events, which is a good thing,” wrote Monica Alleven, FierceWireless. “There might not have been as many people attending, but at least the ones who were there were relevant.” We think many people came just because it was the last one.
“There was some concern the show would be a bit flat, with no major device announcements and Mobile World Congress and CES having stolen a bit of the CTIA event’s fire over the past several years,” wrote Mark Lowenstein, Managing Director of Mobile Ecosystem. “But many key executives from major industry players were there and there was substantive focus and important developments in areas such as the Internet of Things, 5G, and technologies that are an important part of what’s next in wireless and that power many of the devices and apps we enjoy every day.”
The Wrap on CTIA Super Mobility 2016
At Calysto, we definitely believe in the value of tradeshows. (See Laura’s CCO blog: Five Reasons I Love Trade Shows)
That said, we feel that this CTIA event will benefit from new timing and a new location. Calysto’s prediction is that next year’s MWC Americas will be three to four times bigger than this show. Will we see you at MWC Americas 2017?
Next. MWC Americas September 12 - 14, 2017, Moscone Center in San Francisco
Mobile World Live
By Justin Springham
By Mike Dano
September 14, 2016
By Monica Alleven
September 12, 2016
By Andrew Berg
September 9, 2016
By Diana Goovaerts
September 9, 2016
By Charlie Mitchell
September 12, 2016
By Mark Lowenstein
September 12, 2016