PDAs still aren’t cutting it as show tools

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According to an article on BizBash.com, attendees aren’t, for the most part, flocking to new PDA show applications, as was once thought would have happened by now. Companies like Bluefish Wireless make applications that allow attendees to do things like download show guides, maps, exhibitor and attendee lists, etc., but most attendees and show organizers aren’t biting.

At least, not yet. In the article, Corbin Ball is quoted as saying: ""We're not early adopters…But we are coming on strong."

    "The trade show business is down and planners just don't have the money to invest in these new technologies. They're trying to put bodies on the floor," says Tim Scannell, president of Shoreline Research, a Boston-based technology consulting firm. "It's not happening now and probably not in six months, but maybe in a year or two. Today too many PDAs are just personal digital assistants, not collaborative tools."

The events that are having some success tend to be technology, medical, and education conferences, which isn’t too surprising, since PDA use is prevalent among those techie demographics. Even the gigantic American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, held not long ago in New Orleans, only had roughly a fifth of its attendees actually use the cool Bluefish Wireless applications it offered at its show. I doubt it would be worth the $10,000 to $25,000 it costs to use Bluefish’s solutions for a smaller show (ASCO pushed close to 30,000 attendees this year), or for one whose audience is still using their PDAs just as address books and daytimers.

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