Big Bandwidth User Groups

I've been working over my schedule for the next couple of months. It used to be easy for us editor types to visit our vendor and end user customers...we went to a couple of trade shows that there they all were. We could visit the vendors, see new products, ask inconvenient questions, and then use passing end users for reality checks. Not anymore. About five years ago, most large vendors got smart and started to hold user group meetings. I went to the Iconics User Summit recently, you may recall. Rockwell, Siemens, ABB, Emerson, all have their own private trade shows now, where they can preach to the choir and we editors have to spend all our time on airplanes getting from one to the other. (Sigh.) But you know what? The quality of those meetings is very high. They are focused and the amount of information transferred is high. That is, they have big bandwidth (information transfer rate per unit time, right?). It seems to me that there ought to be a way to present this level of information 24/7 without having to pack us all like cattle into airplanes and taking end-users to same-o same-o hotels where we don't have time to be tourists in order to get the scoop. Comments? --Walt Boyes

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