Trade show busy-ness typically follows this pattern for a three day show:

Day 1: slow start leading to a slow day.

Day 2: busiest day with no rest for exhibitors; maybe not even enough time for the traditional trade show lunch ($12 sandwich, $2 potato chips, and $3 soft drink).

Day 3: slowest day; by afternoon there is nothing for the exhibitors to do but stand around and lie to each other about how good business is.

Day 1 had a zippier start than last year’s ISA show.  Day 2 seemed strong, but note that some of the bigger booths from last year are not here this year (PTO, OPC, …).  Some of the other bigger booths are smaller (HART, Fieldbus Foundation…).  I remember the days when the biggest booths were vendors instead of consortia.  Perhaps you also remember the days of a giant Wonderware booth with theater seating for 70 people.  No booths approach this size these days.  The point here is that the booth density is much higher than in “the good old days.”  Still as I made the rounds of PTO members’ booths, they seemed happy with the activity.

Why is the PTO not there with a booth this year?  Because it was very expensive, especially considering the number of qualified leads we received.  We elected to “take our show on the road” instead by taking our one-day training events to 25 cities around North America.  This is a much more efficient way to reach prospective users, especially for the users!  We’ve been doing these events for 4 years or so.  Now many other groups are following suit: ODVA, FF, AS-i, and OPC.

We still have a few events left for 2006.  (I’ll be in Long Beach next Tuesday for a PROFINET one-day training event.)  Check out the schedule and visit us in a city near you.