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DigitalLife Show Debuts In N.Y.

Dell, Microsoft and Toshiba were among the top-flight PC and CE vendors on hand to kick off the inaugural edition of DigitalLife, a combination trade/consumer show dedicated to displaying the digital home.

The show was held Oct. 14-17 in a corner of New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, and it featured new plasma TV and printer product introductions from Dell, a new desktop PC search service from Google, and a variety of keynote speeches and workshops explaining to consumers how the assorted pieces of the digital home fit together. Console gaming hardware dominated the show floor along with vignettes that visually explained, in a manner consumers could understand, the digital lifestyle as envisioned by the industry.

“We saw that there was no event in the U.S. designed around the consumer, and we felt the market was ripe,” said Jim Hasl, the show’s executive producer.

The show’s primary purpose was to empower consumers so they know what they need the next time they visit a retailer. The convergence of CE and PC technology is simply overwhelming to many people and they need an educational venue, he said.

About 100 vendors exhibited and 25,000 attendees were expected, Hasl said.

The show, which was organized by Ziff Davis Media and sponsored by TWICE, was several years in the making and not particularly easy to pull off.

“It was painful to get vendors. We were inventing something new and these companies were not used to talking directly to the customer,” Hasl said.

Hasl was proven correct as vendors interviewed at the show said they were pleased with the number of high-profile companies on hand and the fact that the show gave vendors a direct avenue to discuss their wares with the general public.

Ziff Davis has scheduled the show to run on the same dates in 2005, and Hasl said he is considering taking it on the road to other U.S. cities and perhaps internationally.