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The PocketGPSWorld.com Sandown Park Expo 2007

Date 27th April 2007

Article by Mike Barrett

 

Last Saturday saw the PocketGPSWorld.com SatNav Expo come to Sandown Park racecourse in Surrey. It was the biggest and best event we have organised to date, with 27 booths and 1,500 visitors and the feedback we have received from both exhibitors and visitors was excellent. In general our exhibitors felt that the visitors were generally knowledgeable about navigation systems and were asking informed questions.

 

A lot of visitors seemed to be existing users doing research with a view to upgrading their navigation system in the near future. Once again we had a wonderful, though hectic, time. It is always great to meet old friends, including Tom Tompson (real name :D ) who has been to most of our events since we started.

 

The PocketGPSWorld.com SatNav

Expo at Sandown Park

 

Dont forget to read our Expo Blog

Although this eighth Expo was the most formal and organised one that we have put on it stills retains our original ethos. We have kept the entry to the event free, despite the rising costs which have been, in part, borne by the exhibitors.

 

Although there are opportunities to buy GPS gear at the show we have made sure that the people manning the stands are knowledgeable in the products and not "hardsales" staff. And we have retained the community feel of the site as at previous shows.

 

There have been suggestions that we have name badges for visitors that have registered on the site to allow everyone to recognise familiar posters.

 

Setting up the PocketGPSWorld.com Workshop

The event started over three months ago with detailed planning and invitations to the key exhibitors. At 8am on the Friday the doors of the Esher Hall were opened and the stand builders started bringing in the parts for the exhibition stands which is like a giant Mecanno Kit being assembled. We had to get a few cars in there as well so these had to be positioned before the stands were completed.

 

After lunch with the build finished the exhibitors started bringing in their presentation systems. We had a few interesting problems as a number of the displays had been shipped in from Europe and had the wrong power connectors.

 

Throughout the day we were listening to Radio Jackie streaming through Darren's MacBook, and every time we heard the PocketGPSWorld.com Expo advert a massive cheer went up. It was a bit of a fraught day with the different requirements of each exhibitor. Added to which some of them didn't actually manage to turn up until about 6:30pm which made for a long day. We were also a bit concerned that quite a few of the exhibitors hadn't turned up on the Friday.

Click here for the PocketGPSWorld.com Sandown Movie

A short movie of the event.

Dont worry there is no sound!!!

 

We finally escaped to the hotel about 9pm.

A tradition of the PocketGPSWorld.com Expos is for the Exhibitors to have a party (sorry networking evening) the night before the show.

 

This show was no different and we had a good time right through until 2:30am, some guys were still partying at 4:00am and there are some wild stories that cannot be told. Despite this we still had to be at the hall for 8am, who needs sleep though?

 

True to form everyone was onsite and ready to go before 9:45.

 

The final preparations were underway, and all the remaining exhibitors managed to arrive and set up in time for the doors to open at 10am. We were rushed off our feet organising things and making sure that everything went smoothly.

 

It is only when you host an event like this that you realise how much effort goes into the big trade shows like CeBIT and CES.

 

We had a few people come very long distances to visit the show. A couple from Darlingtonudley arrived about 90 minutes before the opening having after takening 2 taxis, 3 trains and an underground tube, a mammoth journey. We also had visitors from the furthest point in Wales, and way up north from Scotland as well as Belgium, Holland and Italy, but I understand that the furthest visitor came from Hong Kong.

 

Some of the highlights of the networking evening.

We cant publish any of the other pictures.

Taking a tour of the exhibitors we found our hosting sponsor Navman was having a super sale with huge discounts. According to Navman they had the best ever sales at a PocketGPSWorld.com event.

 

All the latest Navman SatNav systems were on display along with the Navman support team to help existing users with their current systems, and advise on upgrades.

 

Navman said:

"Generally we received a lot of positive feedback from customers, the majority of customers I noticed had already done their research and knew what they were after if they wanted to make a purchase or were already familiar to Navman which we find isn’t always the case at many of our international shows. So it was good to be at an event where Navman was a well known name in the industry.

 

The event was ideal for our tech support team to attend rather than our Sales team, I found customers were at the show to speak to our staff about upgrading products with new accessories and map data available, and a large number of questions were related to technical details and not just the main selling features, and fortunately we have a good team in place to handle these sorts of questions at the Pocket GPS events."

 

Opposite Navman was our mapping sponsor Navteq.

 

Navteq had managed to squeeze one of the surveying cars onto the stand and Jasper was explaining the mapping process to the visitors.

 

Also in the stand was one of Navteq's mapping partners: Route 66. Route 66 were showing the new Nokia 6110 Navigator which (according to Mike Barrett) could be the big boost for location based applications on smartphones as it is the first consumer smartphone with inbuilt GPS.

 

The Navman stand

Route 66 on the Navteq Stand

Next to Navteq was Navigon who had some of their major expo displays sent over from Germany, and I can assure you that they are heavy... It took 4 of us to remove them from their crates.

 

Navigon is the navigation software that powers a lot of OEM/ODM devices such as the Fujitsu Loox, Mio 268, and Sony navigators. This year though things are changing and Navigon are starting to release their own branded SatNav systems.

 

The Porsche Design SatNav was also on display. Albeit securely locked away behind glass. It is a very nice looking system.

 

Jasper and Nigel try to work out the Navigon display

TomTom have always been valued supporters of our event and this year they flew an impressive team of international support staff to Sandown Park. We had people from both North America and South America, plus of course staff from Europe.

 

Some of you may have noticed there was a large number of leather clad people crowding round the TomTom stand. The reason for this was that TomTom had the new Rider on display mounted on a Honda Hornet.

 

TomTom were also showing the new ONE XL announced last week.

 

TomTom said:

"As always, we greatly enjoyed the opportunity to speak face to face to so many of our customers. We received a lot of valuable feedback, and especially appreciated the interest and enthusiasm that visitors showed in our latest products, the ONE XL and the RIDER 2, which were on show to the public at the PocketGPSWorld event for the very first time.

 

We also noticed that a great deal of visitors were interested in purchasing our products and accessories. We have virtually never sold our products at an expo, but for the next one we will make it a higher priority to either try to do this ourselves, or to team up with a retailer to make sure that our products are available on the day."

 

Lots of leather clad people looking at a bike

No suggestion of foul play!!!

Moving further down the hall was ViaMichelin.

 

A surprise visitor to the show was the famous Michelin Man, whose real name is Bibendum. He was a great hit with the kids (and some of the adults too).

 

ViaMichelin were showing the new X960 and X970 systems that were launched in the UK last week. Despite not having any stock at the show (we only just managed to get our devices for the draw) ViaMichelin were getting lots of interest and were actually taking pre-orders over their internet connection.

 

ViaMichelin said:

"We were able to gauge the response from the public and enthusiasts towards our new products and services. These were all greeted as being very competitive and most people thought the offering was better than other manufacturers which was great to hear."

 

Tele Atlas have always supported our events and this time they came over with a full presentation of Map Insight.

 

Map Insight is Tele Atlas's new initiative for online error reporting. With Map Sight you can see exactly where the latest (meaning Tele Atlas latest) roads and road attributes (one way systems etc) are. If you spot errors then these can be reported and, hopefully fixed.

 

We arranged a meeting with Tele Atlas at the Expo with a view to intergrating Map Insight as an integral part of the PocketGPSWorld.com site.

 

The ViaMichelin stand with the new X970 and X960

Garmin has recently employed a new Events and Exhibitions manager and this was one of the first events she organised.

 

The new Nuvis were on display on the Garmin stand and were not unexpectedly getting a lot of questions from interested people.

 

One of the more popular items both on the Garmin stand and the PocketGPSWorld.com stand was the recently released Zumo 550 motorbike SatNav. Tim has got a review sample installed on his bike and the guys from Garmin were continually running over to demonstrate the Zumo on Tim's bike.

 

We found out at the show that contrary to the rumours that have been flying around the Garmin Nuvi 200 does indeed have a new Garmin GPS chipset and not any of the speculated chipsets.

 

Of course Garmin do not just have street navigation products. The guys on the stand could be seen with Forerunners strapped to their wrists and the handheld systems were also getting attention. One of the Garmin guys was surprised to get questions about their marine navigation products.

 

Just around the corner from Garmin was ALK who were demonstrating the latest version of CoPilot 7.

 

Set out on the demonstration table was a massive array of devices all running CoPilot from PNDs to PDAs, Smartphones and smartphones (there is a distinction trust me!) and the Blackberry.

 

This weekend sees the CoPilot sponsored Gumball Rally where all the participating cars will be kitted out with T-Mobile MDA Compact III Smartphones reporting their positions back to the Gumball Control Center where they are running the CoPilot FleetCenter software.

 

Opposite ALK was the Nemesis, iGO, Brodit, and Elan stand.

 

Somehow a fully kitted out Mitsubishi Crew Cab L200 was squeezed onto the stand with just a few inches to spare. Nemesis were showing the full range of SatNav products that the company provides, top among these was the iGO software.

 

Last Week Nemesis launched iGO 2006 in the UK, and despite not having any stock for sale they did manage to have a large monitor demonstrating the software features. Some visitors were very lucky and were able to get a glimpse of the new iGO V8 software running on my PDA.

 

The Garmin Events manager setting up the Garmin exhibition stand

Tim had the latest Garmin Zumo 550

installed on his bike.

Poor Tim. We stuck him in the corner with his PC.

Right next to Nemesis was the PocketGPSWorld.com Workshop. This is always a favourite with users where we offer a clinic to help sort out issues with SatNavs, or just to chat and get independent advice and comments from the PocketGPSWorld.com moderators.

 

The guys had their laptops available and helped a lot of people configure their systems with POIs, Speed Cameras, and voices. Tim had his bike and laptop in our display booth.

 

As always, a huge thanks goes to all the moderators who give up their free time to do this.

 

Moderators discussing technicalities pre-show

We also had AVMap making their first UK SatNav show with the Geosat 5 Blu.

 

The new Geosat was generating a lot of interest at the show and the AVMap stand always seemed to have plenty of visitors.

 

If we had awards for the best designed stand the AVMap stand would have been right there at the top. It was themed in blue reflecting the Geosat 5 Blu and had lounge chairs and table.

 

A good place to escape to when your back is aching.

 

Our other exhibitors were also doing some cracking business and getting themselves known from the comical (and crude) voices for your system from SatNav Voices, to combination GPS, TMC and Bluetooth devices from Amarrylo, to Speed Camera detection systems from MoDaCo and TDS, to some interesting new gadgets from Widget.

 

OnTrac were there displaying the tracking system that Mike Alder reviewed recently, and in the next stand was AtoZ Maps which featured the NavigationMaster SatNAv system for Taxis.

 

One of the highlights of the PocketGPSWorld.com Expos is our Prize Draw. As is the tradition with our draw we invite a senior member of the hosting sponsor to draw the winning tickets. As Navman were the hosting sponsors this year we were very fortunate to have Prash Vadgama. : President Navman Group Consumer Products drawing the winners.

 

I would like once again to thank all the companies who donated prizes for our draw. We had over £2000 value in the prizes and managed to raise just under £1000 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity. It seemed a little silly sending this so we rounded it up to £1000, and we will be presenting the cheque soon.

 

We changed the way we run the draw this time to allow visitors to win even if they are not there for the draw. This resulted in a lot of prizes not being claimed on the day, but it also meant that we didn't have a lot of people just waiting for the draw before going home.

 

In fact this worked out very well for us, although there was not a lot of visitors waiting for the draw, we found that there was a rush at the start of the Expo and then a steady flow of visitors coming and leaving throughout the six hours. This meant that the stands were not packed out and everyone had a chance to talk to the right person to get the information they wanted.

 

Mike and Prash drawing winners

 

One of the Prize Draw winners.

Four o'clock came round so quickly. It seemed like we had only just opened the doors and we were already shutting them.

 

It was amazing how quickly the Expo was dismantled. It took three months to organise, over a day to build, but just 2 hours to dismantle...

 

With all the pressure and stress removed it was time to go back to the hotel and have a celebration meal with the moderators and helpers for the show. Some of the partygoers from the previous night disappeared strangely early, but the discussions of what went well and how we could improve other areas went on late into the following morning.

 

Just to avoid confusion that is Mike on the right!!

The dust has settled and we have got back to our normal routines (if they can be called normal). This gives us a chance to catch up with reviews and other SatNav news and events. We have of course already started planning the next BIGGER and BETTER PocketGPSWorld.com SatNav Expo... We are always looking to improve the Expos for our visitors and would welcome any comments you may have about what you want to see or do at our next expo. Keep tuned to the site for more details...

References

 
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Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website

www.Pocketgpsworld.com

   
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