The end of Nepcon UK - and then there were two

Some weeks ago in this column (4th December 2007) I posed the question whether the UK market really was healthy enough to support as many as three domestic electronics events - particularly in a year that will be dominated by Electronica, now officially recognised as the world’s largest electronics exhibition. And then there were two.

In case you missed the news, Reed Exhibitions has bitten the bullet and pulled the plug on Nepcon UK, the country’s longest-running electronics event, after 39 years spent moving back and forth between Brighton and Birmingham. Reed cites the exodus of the electronics manufacturing industry to China and India as the prime reason for its demise. Yet it is clear that the competition provided by the newly organised National Electronics Week and to a lesser extent by this week’s Southern Electronics were too much for the old timer to endure.

Naturally, with my “new media” hat on, I should point out that the days of all exhibitions are numbered. The carbon footprint of any event that seeks to draw thousands of engineers and buyers from around the country to a central location (whether it be London, Birmingham or Brighton) is pretty ugly when you consider that all the information available at any show is (or will be) available online. And this message is likely to be hammered home even more strongly in the coming weeks with a new breed of “virtual exhibitions” set to break into the market.

Nevertheless, we humans are sociable animals by nature, and when this is coupled with the healthy “seeing is believing” scepticism typical of the engineering fraternity, I have to concede that there is still a role for the face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact that only an exhibition can supply.

If you disagree, then read on. Electronicstalk will bring you all the big news from all this year’s exhibitions and conferences, without burning a hole in the planet. But if you really must see it, feel it and touch it, then your next chance will be this Wednesday and Thursday, 6th and 7th February, when Southern Electronics opens its doors at FIVE in Farnborough.

National Electronics Week will be held from 17th to 19th June 2008 at Earls Court, London. And the monster bash that is Electronica will dominate the city of Munich from 11th to 14th November 2008.
This comment was originally published in the Electronicstalk Newsletter

One Response to “The end of Nepcon UK - and then there were two”

  1. Adrian Jones Says:

    It is certainly sad to see a well-established show like Nepcon disappearing, but it does seem that the days of the “big show” may indeed be drawing to a close. One could cite fuel costs and the general aggravation of trekking across the country to attend big trade shows as just as much of a turn-off as concerns over climate change.

    Perhaps even more so is the cost of spending time away from productive activity that attending such a show entails. There may well be a place for “virtual exhibitions”. But in reality, exhibitions are much more than just shop windows; they are a places to meet people and get hands-on with new ideas. These are experiences that no website can ever replicate. So I feel that perhaps the future is in smaller, more focussed regional events that give people the opportunity to network and do business but in an efficient and economical way, with less time away from the desk, less time spent burning fuel in traffic jams and less aggravation!

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Electronicstalk and this Editor's Blog are edited by Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini

Laurence Marchini began his career in the electronics press with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1980, cutting his teeth on a variety of learned and member publications, ranging from IEE Proceedings to Electronics and Power. He moved on to join the launch team of the innovative weekly Electronics Express in 1986, and became Editor just 18 months later. Sadly, Electronics Express lasted just four and a half years, wound up by the infamous Robert Maxwell. However, Laurence had already jumped ship and joined the world of electronics PR with the agency of the 1990s, Smith and Jones Communications. It seemed Laurence was lost to the world of journalism. But after 11 years we managed to lure him back as launch editor of Electronicstalk. Laurence is married to Sally and has a young son, Alexander.

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