Through Neil Stratton on LinkedIn comes this quote from an editorial in Deutscher Drucker ( not sure where the translation happened)
These days when trade shows are held all those taking part are looking for clues about the future economic situation—and the printing industry is no exception. One of our industry’s largest shows of the year, Print 09 in Chicago, has therefore come under sharpened scrutiny.
That the stands sizes and the once over-elaborate structures were substantially cut back one might take as a positive sign of a return to normality; but the fact that many companies completely reinterpreted the term ‘exhibitor’ and simply didn’t show products at all is something that the visitors can hardly welcome. To some extent these exhibits were replaced by little ‘cyber jokes’ to be viewed on oversized touchscreens. But is that enough to make a print manager get in his or her car and drive several hundred kilometres to a show?
One thing is clear, when firms such as Manroland or Kodak no longer show systems, it forces not just the show organizers but also all the other exhibitors to rethink. Or, in other words, how little can one present on the stand without disappointing the visitors and customers? After all, it was a survey by the Print 09 organizers themselves that revealed before the show that visitors were very keen to see machines and systems. At the same time, they also expected to use it as an opportunity to discuss innovative applications and lucrative areas of business
So far as visitor figures go, there were unfortunately no positive signals from Print 09. Whilst the largest Chinese print show, China Print in Beijing a few months back, left one in no doubt that the Chinese print industry had pulled itself together, the empty halls in Chicago made it clear that the US market continues to be in deep crisis.
Thing is, the "cyber jokes" can be done online. They have already started. Actual kit working in real time still crucial for a decent loop of online and Birmingham UK.