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Traffex 2015 – how was it for you? Did it say Smarter, Leaner, Stronger, Together?

The Traffex organisers did an excellent job of organising the show overall this year.

They have announced total attendance figures of 11,390 people including 8,729 visitors to Traffex and 2,661 visitors to Parkex, which represents a 9% increase on 2013.

May 7th

We’re not convinced, however, on the numbers; certainly there were times when the entire exhibition area felt very quiet, and the Seminar programme got mixed reviews from the people we spoke to.

Given the amount of times visitors and exhibitors were scanned into the show each day and the general feeling amongst exhibitors that footfall seemed lower, we feel that there may have been some accidental double-counting going on.

It does start to beg the question as to whether the traditional Expo is losing its importance and value, and if the ROI is getting harder to justify for exhibitors and visitors alike.

However, the big positive for us is that whilst it may or may not have been quieter overall, for us it was still a valuable and very busy three days – with the quality of conversation being far superior to past events.

Many new conversations were started, others continued, and in general a great mix of people: with a lot more hands-on engineers finding the time to have a discussion and share experiences, with the net result being that we have a good number of projects to follow up.

But did the show live up to its promised theme of ‘Smarter, Leaner, Stronger, Together’?

What was SMARTER?

There was a surprising absence of innovation on display, though some may argue that budget constraints within the market over the past five years have somewhat hampered ambitions and drive to risk bringing novel products to market.

Equally, others might argue that until our communications backbone becomes cheaper, more robust and universal, then many innovations are likely to be small enhancements rather than earth-shattering step changes.

However, it was encouraging to see that more people and exhibitors were focusing on what smart solutions really mean today and terms like ‘intelligent mobility’ were starting to find meaning, rather than just being a buzzword.

We received significant interest around the latest advances of our Insight traffic data management platform, with a large number of visitors to the stand commenting on the time they could save by adopting an integrated system like Insight for managing and consuming traffic data.

Our novel parking management system gained great feedback on how visitors could see the solution making best use of parking assets and reducing congestion on the local network.

It was clear that going forward, solutions in this area in particular are going to become even more sophisticated, requiring greater levels of integration between disparate technologies; already today we see strong demand for our built-in features such as VMS integration, but equally for work we plan on developing APIs/feeds for smartphone apps – all with the sole aim of arming the road user with information and choice about every aspect of journey choice they might make in real-time.

For a largely technology-based show, we found it surprising how few companies took the opportunity to embrace technology and work smarter at the event.

We were, for example, using iPads to scan QR codes of visitor badges to speed up data capture – and enable us to spend more time focusing on the conversations we were having.

What was LEANER?

It was clear that whilst the mood was buoyant and to some extent the dark shroud of austerity is starting to lift, there is a natural cautiousness.

Teams in both the public and private sector have clearly adapted to leaner times and found ways to work smarter and still deliver the same high level of professional service.

What was STRONGER and showed signs of TOGETHER?

There was continued news about consolidation within the industry – both in the months leading up to the event, and even during the show.

Mergers & acquisitions are almost inevitable and something that often naturally follows recession, as companies look for security and quick growth.

Stronger more sophisticated solutions are being built by integrating of best of breed technologies from different organisations and it appears that this trend is set to continue with companies needing to collaborate more than ever before and work together with an ever broader range of partners.

This mirrors discussions we have seen with our customers where we are often integrating technologies from two or three different technology partners, along with our own hardware and software as a means of accelerating routes to market, and providing a value-added solution that we can then reproduce elsewhere as a more turnkey solution.

In this brave new world of ITS and Intelligent Mobility, the notion that in future Parkex and Traffex can be run separately might be seen as somewhat of an anachronism; effective and efficient parking management is so intrinsically linked to the future management and elimination of congestion and improvement of road safety that to discuss them in isolation may not be seen as a good way of being smarter, leaner, stronger or together.

If you missed Traffex and would like to know about the solutions we presented and showcased, please contact us here.

Author: |Date Published: May 2015


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