A war of words is heating up the Internet accelerated by Tom Keating, fueled by VoIP Supply's Garrett Smith over a post by a new employee at Voxilla (note a VoIP Supply competitor) who wrote something on his blog about VON this year, even though it does not reflect the official position of Voxilla according to my sources there who I know and trust.
Basically this is a case of second hand reflections, something we are all occasionally guilty of.
This year's VON was different than past events. It co-existed with a new Video on the Net effort from Pulver, but in no way did it pale or suffer. Quite the opposite, I found a better business climate, more sophisticated companies, and a higher level of participation by the bigger companies in the event, even if it wasn't all on the show floor.
VON is not CES, nor is it like Digital Life where masses go. VON is a gathering where more business goes on in meeting rooms, the press room, the speakers lounge and the hallways. I've even suggested to Carl Ford and Scott Kargman of PulverMedia that they find a way to create some hallway exhibitors for startups who don't want or need a booth.
In my mind VON is more than alive and well. As the barometer for the industry, it showed me based on the kind of approaches I received in many directions, that the VoIP world is getting more sophisticated, more strategic and learning what they can do at these events beyond being on the floor.
Being their first hand, working day and night, being on a panel and interacting at events around VON gave me the perspective of the positive undercurrents that are there. My only rub is I couldn't decide if I wanted to be in the VoIP tracks or the Video panels, as the people who were there were really a "who's who" in both industries. The show floor is in my view the culmination of the advance work done to meet with prospective customers and your existing relationships. Planning and having contacts helps accomplish that, but a newcomer, especially one from behind the scenes. is less likely to have been a part of that game, and would obviously feel left out.
To Tom's satire, having been with Jeff Pulver on his birthday at the Level3 dinner at the Harvard Club, I can safely say that he's not divorcing VoIP. as Jeff's questioning of Level3 Chairman Jim Crowe was as savvy as any network anchor. My view is Jeff sees the nexus of the two V's and wants to be a part of it now, rather than later.
Alec Saunders has a very good perspective from a company on the floor.