AstriCon 2018 Recap

AstriCon

Bicom Systems is in full swing this year for trade shows! We attended WISPAPALOOZA and AstriCon at the same time. How you ask? By dividing our best and brightest and conquering in Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando, Florida!

If you have not gotten a chance to read our WISPAPALOOZA Recap, click here.

What is AstriCon?
AstriCon is a 3-Day user conference and exhibition that has been continuously running for the past 15 years. The event stimulates networking, education, expands awareness and discusses the future of the communications industry. AstriCon is used as a learning opportunity to hear from developers, customers and integrators. The whole event is dedicated to Asterisk.

Now you are probably asking, well what is Asterisk?
Asterisk is the most widely used Open Source Communications platform in the world! It is an open source framework for building communication applications, so it basically turns your ordinary computer into a communications server (Source: Asterisk). The project started back in 1999 and is now used by businesses, call centers, carriers, government agencies etc. across the globe. It is free and powers IP PBX Systems, VoIP gateways and much more.

The AstriCon Expo Floor gives businesses in the Asterisk community an opportunity to showcase their products and services. So, off to AstriCon we went!

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Q: Has Bicom Systems Attended AstriCon before?
A: Yes! Bicom Systems has been present in one way or another every year since AstriCon has begun.

Q: As a repeating attender, how was this year’s show different from in the past?
A:
This was the first year Sangoma ran the AstriCon event. The ‘curiosity’ types of attendees are slowly fading out because Asterisk is no longer ‘new’ and we are developing a mature crowd of guests. We noticed there were many opportunities to create new curiosity, for example in private conversation Bicom Systems expressed that the show would benefit hugely from a ‘hack-a-thon’.

The location of the show was held in the same place as last year, which may play a factor in number and of conventioneers that attended. With every trade show, there are always room for improvement and we are looking forward to seeing what Sangoma does next year!

Q: What did Bicom Systems do at AstriCon?
A: This year we were a Gold Sponsor for the event and an exhibitor. We had our own booth and showcased our new features and latest products. The attendees had a chance to meet our team and learn more about us as a company and the industry. As a guest, Bicom Systems had the ability to listen in on presentations, meet potential customers and network with other businesses in the communications industry.

Q: Did Bicom Systems have a key note slot this year?
A: No. Unfortunately, we did not reserve a key note slot for this year’s trade show. We anticipate making more contributions next year with our new products and services offered with our SERVERware.

45341035352_df0597df09_hQ: What kinds of companies attend AstriCon?
A: In the beginning, AstriCon attendees were primarily technicians. We then seen an increasing number of business owners beginning to attend. In the past years there has been a decline in business owners as mentioned before the event attracts a mature crowd and primarily the ‘same’ people.

Q: What is the best thing you get out of AstriCon every year?
A:
It is always interesting to speak with other businesses and learn new ways they are using Asterisks. The information sessions are always useful. This year Simon Woodhead, from Simwood, spoke on security and ‘Why We Must Prioritize Privacy’. The session was very informative, educational and hilarious. Also, the familiar smiley faces are always a plus!

Q: What was your main takeaway?
A:
  This year the event was smaller than in the past. It was intimate, but we realized we enjoyed when everyone was new and unfamiliar vs veterans and mature with the topics. Technology is changing and becoming more challenging, it would have been great to see those changes at AstriCon this year.

Q: What would you like to see differently next year?
A: 
A bigger event in a new location. Different and more presentations. New topics like ‘How to Increase Communication Sales’ or other suggestions from the Asterisk community.  This was their first year running the event and they have not had a chance to reflect. They still have a chance to improve it and we are looking forward to seeing their new ideas for AstriCon 2019!

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We would love to hear your thoughts from AstriCon! Leave a comment below and tell us what you thought about the conference. Feel free to contact us with suggestions for AstriCon.  We have the resources to research and deliver.

If you did not attend AstriCon or any trade show this year, read this previous blog post on ‘Why Trade Shows are Important to Attend’.

If you want to learn more about AstriCon User Conference, check out their website here.

WISPAPALOOZA 2018 RECAP

WISPAPALOOZA

Bicom Systems had another successful year at WISPAPALOOZA! This was our second year entering the trade show as a Platinum Sponsor and we are looking forward to WISPAMERICA 2019!

If you were at WISPAPALOOZA this year, did you see our new booth? Or get a chance to attend our User Group Meeting? If not, check out this previous blog post on ‘Why Trade Shows are Important to Attend’.

To start, what is WISPAPALOOZA?
WISPAPALOOZA, also known as WISPA, is a 5-day event that brings together the WISP (Wireless Internet Service Providers) world. Industry experts, leading suppliers and customers like you come together to network, learn, engage in demos and become inspired. This year it was hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada and had over 160 Exhibitors showcasing their products and services.

Team members from our global company came to WISPAPALOOZA from all over. Let’s hear their story!

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Q: Was this the first time Bicom Systems attended WISPAPALOOZA?
A:
No. This was our third WISPA event and second time attending WISPAPALOOZA. WISPA also hosts a tradeshow called ‘WISPAMERICA’ that we also attended this year.

Q: Was this the first time being a Platinum Sponsor?
A:
No. We were also a Platinum Sponsor last year.

Q: What did Bicom Systems do at WISPAPALOOZA?
A:
This year was a little different for us because we hosted our first ‘User Group Meeting’. We held this on Monday, before the show officially started and had three guest speakers.

Our guests covered topics such as; marketing, user experience, regulatory and compliance and it made our session more appreciated. The speakers generated a lot of conversation and interest from the attendees. The audience became very excited to upgrade to our latest versions once they saw what they were missing.

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Q: Are there any awards or prizes given out?
A:
Yes. There are 8 categories for awards. Bicom Systems was nominated for “Manufacturer of the Year”. Although we did not win, the WISPA board of directors spoke highly of our impact on the organization.

Q: Did you participate in any information sessions?
A:
Yes! There were many information sessions going on during the 5-day trade show. Information sessions are used to share expertise, network and learn more about the topic.

Saulio Reyes (Account Manager) from our team, alongside companies such as Amarillo Wireless, Powercode and Network Business Systems,  participated in an information session called ‘Scaling WISP from 0-1500’. It focused on how to scale up business operations and the best practices to do so.

Kevin Langford (Account Manager) also from Bicom Systems, spoke at ‘Starting a WISP 101’. There were 7 other speakers for this session and they analyzed the many considerations that are involved when getting a WISP started. Kevin focused his presentation mainly on not just selling internet and guided the audience into VoIP.

Finally, Kevin (Account Manager) also spoke at ‘WISP’s in the Clouds/UCaas and ‘How WISPs Can Capitalize’. These information sessions reminded customers that they are running a business first and a network second. They were extremely educational and discussed the opportunities companies have to grow their customer base.

Q: When you sponsor WISPA, you receive a keynote speaking slot. How did that go?
A: 
That is right. When you sponsor WISPAPALOOZA as a Diamond or Platinum sponsor you are given a Vendor Spotlight. On behalf of Bicom Systems, Account Manager Kevin Langford, presented a 1-hour product description Q&A information session. The presentation dissected each product and their many editions. It gave the audience a chance to learn in depth about our current and future products, their newer updates and much more. It was so engaging that everyone who attended the keynote, stopped into our booth afterward to learn more!

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Q: Aside from businesses, who attends WISPAPALOOZA?
A: (Kevin Langford):
 In my experience, you have 4 types of people who attend trade shows like WISPAPALOOZA.
1) Curious customers who are interested in learning about the industry
2) Consumers who want to start a WISP
3) Businesses who are a WISP/ISP
4) ‘Techie’s’ (Tech-i-es: ‘a person who is very knowledgeable or enthusiastic about technology and especially high technology’) – Merriam-Webster

Q: If other businesses and customers were to ask if WISPAPALOOZA was worth attending, what would your advice be?
A: (Kevin Langford):
 Have a game plan. You cannot be in two places at one time and although the committee tries not to schedule two popular information sessions at the same time, it happens. Research the vendors who are going to be there. Plan your days. Make a schedule.

Thanks for reading and we will see you at the next trade show!

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If you are still considering attending WISPAPALOOZA as a vendor, check out this blog post by Minim. The company’s CEO seamlessly breaks down the event and all the dos/don’ts all from a newbies perspective.

If you are interested in learning more about Bicom Systems visit our website here.