BroadcastAsia2002: Definitely worth the trip
By Brad Dick, Editor
I just returned from my summer foray to Singapore to partake in this year's BroadcastAsia show. It was my first trip to both the convention and the location. The bottom line: I was highly impressed by both the exhibition and the locale.
For those of you yet to attend the event, Broadcast Asia, BCA for short, is celebrating its eighth year of existence. From the beginning, BCA was held biennially. Last year, the conference went annual, reflecting the solid broadcast growth of the region. Most of the time, it was held in conjunction with CommunicAsia. This year's event separated the two shows while incorporating three other conferences: CableSat, Audio Technology and ComGraphics & Animation.
If your only convention experience is going to Amsterdam and Las Vegas, Singapore will surprise you. First of all, the local people are actually friendly. They seemed pleased you came. I dare you to compare that with the typical Las Vegas or even Amsterdam native!
Second, the practice now widely used by both Amsterdam and Las Vegas of wildly inflating local prices for cabs, hotel rooms and restaurants during conventions is wonderfully missing from Singapore. You don't pay twice as much for a hotel room during the convention as you will the day after the convention. Amsterdam hotel bureau — are you listening?
And like you, I've also had to pay NAB's astronomically priced convention center food prices, but BCA offered another surprise. Because the convention center is connected to two large shopping centers, there are plenty of food choices. Attendees aren't limited to the NAB's (US) $6 hotdogs and $2.25 doughnuts. There are lots of restaurants and small food courts serving everything from American chicken wings and BBQ to sushi within the Suntech convention center.
Singapore's largest industry must be shopping. I've never seen so many stores in one city. One shopping center area, Orchid Row, must have more stores and shops than most large cities. On a Sunday afternoon, there were so many people in the stores, I wondered if most of Singapore was there. It was a unique and pleasant experience.
If you like warm climates, Singapore is about as good as it gets. It was hot and muggy, which is perfect for me. Being a runner, I really enjoyed jogging along the river and harbor areas even if it was warm. If you're a colder weather type, be prepared to sweat.
But how about the convention? In one word, great. It featured good papers and presenters and a well orchestrated exhibition. No, it's not NAB, where there are a thousand new products. It's not IBC, where the new products announced at NAB are finally real or the 625 versions are being shown for the first time. But BCA is a good place to try some of the equipment and, most importantly, meet dealers and manufacturers who can help you find the solutions best designed for your needs.
I found BroadcastAsia2002 to be a totally pleasant experience, and you can bet I'll be there next year. There is one drawback for an American, however: It's one long plane ride. But, it is worth it.