Last week around this time, three of our team members had just got done with the first set of exhibit hours at the Eastern Exhibit Hall of the spectacular Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Delighted on the amazing feedback, sales leads and compliments received for Preseem’s QoE monitoring and optimization platform in the last two hours, the group was just getting ready for more rounds of exhibit hours, customer meetings, networking and fun. Yes, the event was WISPAmerica 2018 and in its sixth edition, this annual gathering was all set to be the largest-ever meeting of fixed wireless industry professionals, east side of the Mississippi.
Meticulously planned and executed by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (kudos to Trina Coffey and team), WISPAmerica 2018 turned out to be an amazing conference and trade show attended by close to 800 participants. This included hundreds of WISPs, 85+ Exhibitors/sponsors and many consultants/experts serving the fixed wireless industry. Right from the discounted hotel block rates to the quality and diversity of sessions to the food to the networking opportunities, it was an out-and-out winner! Despite it’s relatively smaller scale than the Vegas staple WISPApalooza, WISPAmerica offers full value for members of the WISP industry to learn, network and grow their businesses.
Banking on our previous learnings and tips to get the most out of a WISPA show, we were happy to pre-book some meetings with prospective WISP customers and existing Preseem users before the start of the event. This allows us to spend dedicated time outside exhibit hours (where it gets really busy) to discuss network-specific concerns and special use cases.
In terms of our actual presence in the exhibit hall, we had definitely ‘upgraded’ from last year’s ‘last-minute-table spot’ at WISPApalooza to a full-fledged corner booth for Birmingham. Keeping in line with our brand identity, we kept the words to the minimum and painted the booth blue! Not only WISPs, we actually got compliments on our booth display as well as location from some fellow exhibitors. Interestingly, many vendors know that we actually had a harrowing time waiting for our UPS-shipped booth container to arrive. It got late by 2 days and finally made it to the exposition company’s warehouse around 4.30 pm on Monday (March 5th) which was almost the end of the exhibitor setup time. While this will always be part of our memory now, we actually only took less than 45 minutes to fully setup our booth.
Not to miss our pocket-friendly postcards!
Day 1 of WISPAmerica ’18 started with a State of WISPA address by Board Chairman Chuck Hogg and he reconfirmed that the state of WISPA is strong and evolving. He further reported that as per latest research by analyst firm The Carmel Group, the fixed wireless industry is projected to double its revenues from $2.3 billion to $5.2 billion by 2021. This was followed by speed dating sessions which are always fun to participate. Meeting sets of different operators, vendors, consultants over 90 minutes with some fun and some interesting business-related questions is a great way to start conversations at a trade show! Here’s a panoramic shot of the opening session at WISPAmerica ’18.
When the exhibit hours opened alongside lunch, we had a lot of people stop by our booth and discuss QoE monitoring and optimization for fixed wireless networks. The best thing to happen to us was a lot of our existing Preseem users swing by the booth and actually help explain the utility of our platform to fellow WISPs. There’s no better marketing than this! Also on Day 1, we had Dan Siemon on the advanced QoE panel talking about the nuances of QoE-based network monitoring and plan enforcement. JJ from Tekwav, also a Preseem user, added QoE perspectives from the point of view of an operator and the audience surely loved this. JJ talked about how QoE monitoring compares with ICMP and how plan enforcement based on QoE optimization can help reduce subscriber churn and support costs. Audience came up with some interesting questions on deployment, comparison with DPI-based solutions and real world use cases for QoE solutions and these were well attended by the panelists. Here are some pictures from Day 1 and the Advanced QoE session.
On Day 2 and Day 3, we continued our networking spree and were happy to see the continuous flow of visitors to our booth. This is majorly due to our strong partnerships with other billing vendors in the WISP space as well as positive word of mouth marketing from existing WISP clients. We cannot thank them enough for their support. Four of our billing partners, namely Sonar, VISP.net, Billmax and Azotel had our pop-up banners in their booth to share information with their customers about our API integration. There was a lot of interest in our affordable appliances for QoE monitoring and optimization from WISPs and we were actually able to reserve some orders on the spot! Day 2 also had the Exhibit hall reception in the evening with some amazing food and conversations. Maximum attendees made their way to the Exhibit hall on this occasion and that really helped vendors to discuss their products and services in-depth with interested participants. Here are some of our pictures from Day 2 and Day 3 at WISPAmerica ’18.
Last but not the least, we should definitely mention the fun aspects of attending a WISPA show. From Mimosa product launch cocktails to opening night reception at Southern Bar & Grill to Sonar’s customer appreciation party at TopGolf to Mexican food stations in the exhibit hall, there was something for everyone to enjoy! Topping it all was Birmingham with some amazing food options at Cantina Laredo, Mugshots Grill & Bar, Texas De Brazil and others, all within less than 100 steps from the venue. Here are some of our favorite pictures beyond the trade show and conference hours.
All in all, WISPA again helped showcase the strong community spirit of the fixed wireless industry and their prowess in organizing an amazing trade show and conference. We’re thankful for all the feedback we received for our service and for the strong partnerships we initiated with other vendors in the space. Birmingham was a great choice for the venue and we’re sure WISPA will come up with even better alternatives for next year’s show! We can’t wait 🙂 If you were at the event, please comment below with your thoughts on the event. If you weren’t, we hope that you’re able to travel to WISPAPALOOZA 2018 at Las Vegas scheduled for Oct 8-Oct 12, 2018. Trust us, it’ll be worth your time!
For more information on Preseem, click here.