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Exhibits Return to Successful CMA Conference.

What a difference a year makes! Though not many people doubted the importance and growth of the Communications Managers Association's conference, this year's event certainly may have even surprised its most-arden supporters. More than 2800 people jammed the exhibit area, and registered attendees totaled 525, the largest numbers since the association's conception in 1948.

With last year's exhibits cancelled at the last moment due to a union dispute, leaving only the general sessions and seminars, it was probably difficult to imagine that in 1985, the Nassau Coliseum would be host to 318 booths of 176 exhibiting companies. All booth space was sold out weeks prior to the show, which was held November 13 through 15.

"I think we definitely topped last year," said Hollis Sobers (Allied), CMA conference chairperson. "We are located here on the East Coast, and we have the benefit of drawing a number of the large companies that are located in the tristate area. It will be very difficult for us to get a better quality in the future as far as type of exhibitors," he added.

With 40 seminars held at the nearby Long Island Marriott, convention goers seemed to have been satisfied with the number and quality of the presentations. However, with most of the session rooms being filled to capacity during these seminars, Sobers believes that next year even-larger rooms may have to be used to accommodate the more-popular sessions. Two of the seminars were repeated due to the high interest level, Sobers reported.

Some of the session topics included "Building Microwave Systems," "Bypass Alternatives," "Elements of Circuit Ordering," "Voice Mail Industry and Applications," "Software-Defined Networks," "ISDN Update," "Cellular Radio," "Building and Maintaining and Negotiating Contracts," "International Deregulation" and more.

Three general sessions, one held on each day of the convention, wre well attended, and on Wednesday, the conveton's slogan, "Challenge of Choice," was discussed by Robert Allen, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Information Systems.

"We are in the midst of a revolution--the information revolution. Its outcome depends upon the direction chosen by the movers behind the revolution--all of us in this room. That is the challenge of choice we in the telecom and information movement and management industry face today--the direction we choose for the information revolution," Allen said.

"Will we choose the direction that makes the most of telecommunications and information movement and management? Or will we choose a direction that leaves us swamped in useless information and expensive but under-performing technology?

"I think the time will come when any person, anywhere, speaking into a small electronic device--perhaps no larger than a book--can ask a question and almost instantaneously receive the information he or she seeks," All said. "The questioner won't need to know where or how the information is stored, or even whether it exists. The network will search it out, and the network will make the arrangements and make the information accessible. Humans will be called upon only when human judgment is required. This network will cross geographic boundaries and language barriers, it will be ubiquitous and it will be universal."

"That is the challenge of choice I would like to offer to your conference today--that all of us commit ourselves to work together to achieve that vision of universalization--to make the potential benefits of the information age accessible, useful and affordable to anyone, anywere, anytime," Allen said.

Edwin Spievack, president of the North American Telecommunications Association, gave the keynote speech on Thursday, discussing how users and competitors in communications must work together in order to mutually benefit in the future.

"I submit that it is in the long-term interest of users to ensure the viability of a strong and healthy independent communications equipment industry. The challenge is for competitive suppliers and users alike to unite around a common agenda," Spievack said.

"First, the network must remain nothing more than a neutral pipeline.... Second, it is in the common interest of users and suppsliers alike to avoid, at all costs, a trade war with Japan and Western Europe," he added. "Third, competitors and suppliers share a desire for certainty about the policy ground rules govenring the telecommunications marketplace" (See story, page 56).

The CMA conference was closed for another year following Friday's keynote speech by IBM Group Director Richard Goldberg.

Breakfasts were sponsored each morning by New York Telephone Company, and lunches were held by New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, Racal-Milgo and AT&T Communications. Centel Financial Systems held a cocktail reception and dinner on Wednesday evening, as did MCI Communications on Thrusday night. Nearly 40 companies provided speakers for CAM's seminars, and hospitality suites were given by several of the vendors present at the show.

Next year's CMA conference will again be at the Long Island Marriott and Nassau Coliseum on October 8 through 10.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Semple, Paul
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1986
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