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Pittcon 2012 Observations

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Most analytical chemistry vendors use two large conferences to launch new products: the Pittsburgh Conference (Pittcon) in the U.S. in March and Analytica in Germany in April.  Since Analytica only happens every other year, Pittcon tends to be the launchpad for the vast majority of corporate announcements for the year. But Pittcon is undergoing a metamorphoses as it struggles with technological and economical changes in the marketplace that are resulting in declining attendance and the loss of the presence of key market players such as PerkinElmer and Agilent from the exhibit floor.  Stiff competition for attendees as well as exhibitors has arisen from smaller conferences that offer more in-depth sessions and less competition, combined with the growing trend for users to start the buying process online, will continue this trend.

That said, there is a definite place for large venues that pull in a large diverse audience composed not just of potential and current customers, but also journalists who have the ability to drive further publicity for the very products the vendors wish to highlight most. The Pittcon Editor's Awards, for instance, publicize the most innovative new products released during the show and provide an online life far beyond the conference itself.  

Bruker understands this. Once again they introduced a slew of new products at Pittcon, which will be featured again at Analytica for the European market.

Thermo Scientific also understands the importance of a presence at key conferences, learning their lesson the hard way when they didn't participate at Pittcon once in the mid-2000s, sparking a wave of rumors about possible financial problems. This was not the case, and they wouldn't get such a reaction today, but it clearly indicates the level of expectations that Pittcon generates.  

There are rewards: Bruker garnered a Pittcon Editor's award for their SCION TQ, a triple quad GC/MS instrument that will generate publicity far beyond the conference. Both Bruker and Waters made corporate announcements about their recent acquisitions, which are positioning both companies for further expansion as their offerings gain greater breadth and depth. Thus while the original press release will be quickly archived, journalists take note and continue to watch and comment about the companies' progress, continuing to generate visibility for the vendor.

Check out Lab-Tube.tv for videos from Pittcon with the latest Informatics news!

Helen Gillespie