The Telecommunications Industry Association's annual trade show may be an offshoot of the Supercomm event that dominated the wireline and wireless headlines from the late 1990s through 2009, but this show is nothing like its predecessor.
In place of big booths was a smaller event that featured a conference-driven format where members of the industry got together to talk about today's pressing technology and policy issues.
Show organizers told FierceTelecom that while they are still completing their final audit, they estimated that about 1,100 people attended the event.
TIA 2013 took place in National Harbor, Md., which is only minutes away from Washington, D.C., during the recent government shutdown. As a result, a number of key telecom policy leaders, including acting FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) canceled their appearances at the show.
On the regulatory front, a key discussion was the retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). During the policy day keynote session, AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) expressed frustration over the FCC's lack of clarity on how to make the TDM to IP transition.
Besides policy, the event highlighted three key emerging trends in a number of panels and sessions including cloud services, over the top (OTT) technologies, and software defined networking (SDN).
Following the spirit of early VoIP providers and video providers such as Vonage (NYSE: VG) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), over the top is enabling service providers to increase ARPU by offering home automation and PC network support.
Another key highlight came from James Feger, VP of network strategy and development for CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), who gave a fresh look how SDN can operate in a large telecom network.
But TIA 2013 wasn't just about technology and policy. The show also highlighted the role of women in telecom leadership roles in a panel led by Kathleen Abernathy, VP of external affairs for Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR). During that panel she discussed the challenges and opportunities for women with Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter and Neustar CEO Lisa Hook.
TIA may have not had the big breaking news events of its predecessor, but it indicates a demand for events that are focused on discussion and providing information about how telecom players can proceed amid the rapid changes in the industry.
In the following feature, we chronicle the top trends that emerged during the recent TIA 2013 show. Please give us your feedback in the comments section.--Sean