I made a quick trip to NXTcomm earlier this week to moderate a panel, have some meetings and walk the show floor. For those of you not familiar, NXTcomm is the joint event of the Telecommunications Industry Association (the association for telecom technology vendors) and the U.S. Telecom Association (the association of telecom service providers). This show, which drew about 20,000 people, grew out of Supercomm and GlobalComm conferences, is now the telco industry's main confab.
What struck me the most was how much the show focused on video and entertainment. I was at Supercomm years ago and remember it being a bunch of telco engineers inspecting the latest gear for routing phone calls. No more. As new NXTcomm executive director Wayne Crawford explained in an interview with Telephony magazine, "NXTcomm has a much broader conference program in terms of different types of technologies represented a and much more of its emphasis is placed on technology as it relates to the entertainment industry.
Boy, was this emphasis was evident on the show floor. All the big vendors, Microsoft, Intel, NEC, Nortel, Tandberg and others had major booth visibility around video. The telco industry is coming after the IPTV and broadband markets hard, and all of these vendors are providing the enabling gear. Having attended the Cable Show last month, NXTcomm doesn't yet have the glitzy booths of a Viacom or NBCU, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did by next year or the year after. Video is a major priority of the telco industry. Very exciting to see.