Although I did find one or two exhibitors that were reasonably pleased with the event, I think it is fair to say that overall ESC UK 2009 was pretty disappointing. As always the conference provided quality, valuable technical content, but why were the conference attendees not encouraged to visit the exhibition? A packed programme, and a layout that meant the conference attendees did not walk past any booths on the way to lunch or drinks meant that exhibitors missed out – and with some great booths, the conference attendees missed out as well.

I understand that although the paid for conference attracted a respectable 81 delegates, the main exhibition only pulled in just over 520 visitors across two days, despite attracting a total of over 1600 registrations prior to and at the event. The figures haven’t been officially released, but I’m pretty confident that these are accurate numbers. With over 1500 attendees in 2008, it appears that the move to Farnborough was a disaster.

The show didn’t appear to attract committed support from exhibitors prior to the event, as many told me they only signed up when offered a special deal a week or two before the show, although it was good to see commitment on the days of the show as all the booths were well staffed.

Personally I really hope next year’s event is a success. I’m not convinced about the choice of venue – whatever the actual numbers it was clear to anyone at the show that engineers didn’t flock to Farnborough. But the UK does need shows, not only as a vehicle to market products, but also to educate engineers. Even if the economy improves, it’s a tough job, but hopefully TechInsights can convince engineers they should attend, and convince potential exhibitors that the show floor will be packed!