DSEi Special Report
At DSEi, Business Is Good for Some, Slow for Others
by Grace V. Jean
LONDON - Giant defense contractors that typically expect to sign megadeals at military expos such as DSEi have been a bit disappointed by the slower traffic and, according to a few industry insiders, the lower turnout at this year’s show. Fewer delegations have stopped by, they say. Some have attributed it to the timing of the show coinciding with a major religious holiday. Others say it has been a down year for industry shows as a whole.
But from the perspective of smaller companies, however, it’s business as usual. In a few cases, business is booming.
Case in point is Michael Pritchard, CEO of Lifesaver Systems based in Ipswich, U.K. The company unveiled a new water filtration product at the show. The inventor of the popular Lifesaver bottle adapted the standard military jerrycan so that troops can have access to clean, fresh water for extended periods of time. The company has received numerous queries from potential customers, he says.
Likewise, Barry Harris, director of international military business development for Recon Robotics, pulls out a journal containing the scores of business cards and contacts that he has made so far. The micro robots that the company is hawking here are drawing much attention from militaries and homeland security experts from around the world. The robots, which look like barbells from a casual glance, can be tossed into buildings. They roll around on the floor controlled by a handheld unit with a display screen that shows the black and white video imagery from the camera.
Compared to the last DSEi expo two years ago, there has been one remarkable trend at this show: The crowds this time come and go in concentrated bursts of activity. There are hours when the hustle and bustle is overwhelming. But then there are dead periods when it seems that there are more industry representatives milling about the stands than browsers of the show. And while more international delegations were invited, it appears that fewer have chosen to attend.