Supercomm to split into 2 shows next year

May 23, 2005


There's good news and bad news about one of Chicago's premier trade shows. Supercomm, the world's largest telecommunications convention, arrives at McCormick Place June 6. It will attract more than 30,000 visitors, generate $50 million in revenue in Chicago, and create 7,000 temporary jobs, according to Matt Flanigan, president of the Telecommunications Industry Association, one of the show's organizers.

That's the good news.

The bad news is Supercomm morphs into two separate shows next year. Globalcomm (with an emphasis on telco equipment suppliers) will debut at McCormick Place in June 2006. TelecomNEXT (where the telco carriers will flock) launches three months earlier in Las Vegas.

Chicago faces stiff competition for trade shows. But we're a competitive town. We just have to get aligned, show up and play to win.

That's why I want you to know about two prototypical Chicagoans, John Janowiak and Van Cullens. Both are working hard to make Chicago's shows successful.

Janowiak is senior director of the International Engineering Consortium, the Chicago group that builds Supercomm's content. Cullens is CEO of Aurora- based Westell Technologies and chairman of TIA.

Janowiak is fielding a spectacular array of presenters at Supercomm. He's lined up new FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Nortel Networks CEO William Owens, Siemens Communications CEO Lothar Pauly, Tellabs CEO Krish Prabhu, Lucent CEO Patricia Russo and BellSouth CEO Duane Ackerman.

That's the tip of the iceberg. Janowiak's displaying the future of technology at McCormick Place.

Meanwhile, Cullens is working on Globalcomm. His members sell more than $100 billion in communications equipment, not just teleco providers, but businesses in general.

He's broadening the audience for Globalcomm to attract these new buyers interested in the future of voice, video and data communications.

"It's not like it was 20 years ago when we bought our communications services from AT&T," Cullens says.

Globalcomm has a one-year commitment to McCormick Place. But that could change.

"We're looking strongly at staying in Chicago, but we need the support of the Chicago community," Cullens says.

Xinnia Sells to CableMatrix

Players of Halo 2 and Quake take note. Deerfield's Xinnia Technology, which makes software allowing cable companies to provide premium broadband connections, was sold to Israel-based CableMatrix Technologies, which is moving its headquarters to Deerfield.

The deal gives local entrepreneur Jay Malin, 35, an opportunity to grow. CableMatrix has venture backing from Intel Capital, Walden International, EnerTech Capital, and Veritas Venture Partners. Malin and his partner, Matt Tooley, pick up equity in CableMatrix. Malin becomes vice president for business development, and Tooley vice president of technology.

With the rise of on-line computer gaming, VoIP and video telephony, cable providers must offer customized broadband services, according to Malin. His software lets cable providers sense customer's technical needs.

Consider "network latency."

Latency is the delay from the time an information packet is sent to the time it's received. Malin says, "If you're playing somebody online and there's latency, by the time you see the bullet shot at your char- acter and shoot back, it's too late. Your character is already dead."

How did Malin know he had a winner? "I would call Comcast, Cox or Time Warner, and they'd call back," Malin says. "There was a lot of interest. We decided to get going."

Malin is a Glenview native and 1987 graduate of Glenbrook South. He studied electrical engineering at Washington University, and earned a master's degree and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

He picked up an MBA attending night classes at the University of Chicago.

Will he bolt for the coast with his first entrepreneurial victory? Not a chance.

"I'm not moving," Malin says. "My wife grew up in Deerfield."

Making the list

Chicago-based BridgePort Networks was named to the Fierce 15 list as a top emerging company. The list is published by FierceWireless a leading wireless industry newsletter.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.



 ©2005 Marion Consulting Partners