BroadcastAsia 2004

I just returned from BroadcastAsia2004. Other than catching a cold on the trip, I had a great time.

BroadcastAsia2004 is the opposite of NAB in most every way. First of all, everyone speaks English. Second, it's held in a pleasant country and city. Third, the weather is a pleasing, warm 29°C.

Also in contrast to the NAB convention, the tourist service staff and locals genuinely seem to appreciate that you're there. They are pleasant, cordial and always helpful. When was the last time you asked your hotel for a late check-out on the last day of NAB, and instead of being told “No,” the hotel staff said, “Yes, but why not take another hour if it would be more helpful”?

Enough about the culture. What about the convention? BroadcastAsia2004 won't ever be large like NAB. Its target audience are those companies and attendees that may not travel to the USA or Europe for broadcast shows. Even so, there was significant participation by the UK, Asia and U.S. companies, along with regional manufacturers and distributors.

The conference papers are first-rate, with plenty of international speakers and topics. One disappointing point this year was that they ran out of copies of the proceedings. Come on guys, just stamp out more CDs and save the trees.

This year, the broadcast show was held in the same exhibition center as CommunicAsia2004 and EnterpriseIT2004. These shows cover communications and IT technologies, providing added value to attendees.

I did manage to walk through the other four halls and found them filled with tons of communications and IT gear — everything from telephone connection boxes to cable splicing equipment to futuristic cell-phone technology. The larger exhibitors at these two shows sure know how to present their wares — if you catch my drift! I haven't seen booths staffed like this since 1983!

Unfortunately, Singapore can be a long way from everywhere. I flew on the new Singapore Airlines' non-stop route from Los Angeles. Still, it was 17 hours in the air. While I'd never recommend being confined that long in any environment, the trip was tolerable largely due to the entertainment center in every seat: 40 channels of on-demand movies, hundreds of CDs, taped news and TV shows, plus Nintendo-like games. In addition, every seat has a power outlet for your computer. I don't mean to sound like a commercial for Singapore Airlines (and the food going over would keep me from doing so) but the electronics were great. All that was missing were my favorite live news channels.

So, consider putting BroadcastAsia2005 on your travel itinerary for next year. But don't make the same mistake I did by not scheduling some vacation time once you're there. After all, if you're going to spend 35 hours in the air, you might as well have some fun while you're on the ground.

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