AHR Las Vegas 2011 Part 1

I spent the majority of today walking around the AHR show at the Las Vegas convention center. There was a really hot roulette table that beckoned me but I spent my time at the show (yes Drew, I had a pocket full of dollars but didn’t make the Spearmint).

The first couple of hours were really pretty boring. I started out talking to boiler guys. And more boiler guys and more boiler guys but grew pretty bored pretty fast. They weren’t much in the mood for talkin to me either as I haven’t any plans to spend a ton of money on boilers when I don’t even own a building.

Then I decided I would get up to date on the data logging business. I trusty assistant and companion Jessica Ladd played the part of Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote as we walked the show (Drew: it’s from Man of La Mancha). I detailed Jessica to route us to all the data logging people in the two monstrous halls. And route she did, to about 45 of them.

Some were nice. Some were fun. Some had wireless. Some didn’t. Many of them have been in data logging for a very long time.

Had a great discussion with a gentleman from Padova, Italy about the differences between Prosciutto (Ham) from Bologna, Italy vs Prosciutto from Southern Italy. Italian food is a great passion of mine a passion that I regret every time I need to buy another pair of pants.

What struck me about the data logging business is how little it has really changed and how traditional and mired in the muck it is. I saw only one company that seemed to have a handle on it. Most have incomplete solutions that couldn’t begin to cover the range of data logging applications.

They all seemed stuck in the “This is My Customer”, “This is What I Sell” mentality without a clue that they are actually in a more broad based business than they realize.

I have to stop and grab hold of myself when I say things like this. I know from long experience it is very easy to critique the next guys business. You can easily see all the possibilities, all the things they are doing wrong and all the gaps in their strategy. It is hard if not downright impossible to do that in your own business.

So, I’ll temper my criticism a bit.

I’ll also temper it a bit by telling you that there were 2 or 3 pretty good data logging companies. Not spectacular but some good ones that have improved their product line and expanded the range of solutions they offer.

As a marketer I was disappointed at the silly slogans offered up by the marketers at some of the biggest companies in the industry. One was proving “Innovation and Quality”. Wow, that’s brand new. I think I saw that at the IPC show in 1988.  Another was “Connecting Anywhere”. Connecting what? Jess thought it sounded like something from a cell phone company.

As always not a whisper of a customer oriented solution to a real problem.