CTIA expects significant decrease in fall show attendance numbers

Mike Dano

CTIA said it is expecting around 5,000 people to attend MobileCon, its annual fall show. That figure is a significant decline from the 10,000 to 15,000 conference-goers the trade association said attended its fall show last year.

MobileCon is a new brand for CTIA's fall show; for the past two years the group called its fall get-together "CTIA Enterprise and Applications." CTIA in August of this year changed the name to MobileCon because IT professionals and CIOs thought that the term "enterprise" was more associated with a wired, business experience than a mobile one. 

"We took a long look and decided that this rebranded focus was the right way to go to grow a solid show for the future, and that we're really pleased with the quality of our attendees that we've seen in registration," said CTIA's John Walls, VP of public affairs. "With what we're doing and what we want to do, this is all about quality over quantity and we're very pleased with what we've seen so far and with the educational and keynote line-up we've put together."

Thus, it appears CTIA is aiming for a more specific group of attendees, which could be a reason the trade group's fall attendance numbers are well below those of last year.

Nonetheless, CTIA has been working to make MobileCon a destination trade show for the wireless industry. Notable keynoters include Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar, on Tuesday; Robin Bienfait, CIO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, on Wednesday; and Ryan Hughes of Isis and Dodd Roberts of MCX on Thursday.

As for other news events, Verizon Wireless has scheduled a media presentation by CTO Nicola Palmer, who will "provide an update on the state of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network."

Attendees should expect lots of noise about the bring-your-own-device trend and how IT executives can more effectively manage the personal mobile devices that employees bring into work with them. Other hot topics likely will revolve around mobile pricing for business travelers, mobile security and M2M communications.

Indeed, CTIA promises to have a range of potentially interesting and on-topic presentations and sessions aimed at CIOs and other business executives. Specifically, CTIA is hosting a BYOD "Bring Your Own Dilemma" Bar: "Powered by senior-level Accenture subject matter experts, the BYOD Bar is a 'help desk' where IT professionals can have their questions on mobile IT answered." The association is also promising "bit talks," or 15-minute presentations where IT professions discuss concerns and solutions for specific problems. And CTIA's "Boardroom Series" will offer speakers from Fortune 500 companies who will "provide insightful perspective on how mobility is enhancing the way they conduct business."

Thus, it should be no surprise that Fierce will be on the ground this year in San Diego covering all aspects of the MobileCon show. I'll be there with Sandhya Raman to cover all the keynotes, press conferences and everything in between. Stay tuned to our MobileCon page for all the headlines from the show, as well as slideshows and analysis. We'll make sure to keep this page updated throughout the week. +Mike Dano