COMMON Expo: Your Source for Free Stuff
May 3, 2011 Alex Woodie
Nearly 100 IBM i vendors will be displaying their wares in the exposition portion of this week’s COMMON conference in Minneapolis. For some attendees, the expo is a place to learn about the latest IBM i solutions from the vendors themselves. For others, the vendor booths represent an excellent opportunity to stock up on free pens, toys, squeakers, jumpy things, and of course food. This year, many vendors will be giving away high-end devices, like iPads and Kindles, which is sure to attract the attendees.
No fewer than four vendors contacted by IT Jungle confirmed they will be holding drawings to give away Apple iPads, the latest techno gadget coveted around the world by geeks and non-geeks alike. And with the price of the latest iPad2 device going for between $500 and $800, this is not the kind of free conference schawg you give to your dog or 3-year-old when you get back home.
Attendees interested in getting a free iPad should stop by the booths of Help/Systems, Kronos, mrc, and Vision Solutions to get their Passport to Prizes book stamped. There’s a good chance that other vendors will be giving away iPads or Android-based tablet computers, which are becoming popular devices for running graphical management consoles for enterprise computing environments.
The Amazon Kindle e-reader is another popular giveaway at this week’s COMMON. Townsend Security and mindSHIFT Technologies have confirmed they will be holding drawings for the devices, which normally start at $189, but which two lucky individuals will get for the low, low price of $0.
Several other vendors will be giving away high-end electronic devices, including Synergivity Software, which is giving away a netbook computer; MKS, which is giving away a flip camera; and UNIT4 CODA, which is giving away a Nintendo Wii video game system.
The prize for realizing that the quickest way into a potential IBM i customer’s heart is through his stomach goes to Halcyon Software, which is giving away soft Philly pretzels at this week’s expo. (The logistics involved with doling out Philly cheesesteaks, apparently, was too much for Halcyon, which is based in the U.K., but has U.S. headquarters near Philadelphia).
Undoubtedly, other vendors will have free food and drink on hand to sooth the weary COMMON attendee. In fact, COMMON itself will be holding two free lunches and two adult-beverage receptions in the Expo. It all goes to show that the promise of education and information is a valuable commodity in this day and age–but free stuff is something else altogether.