N+I Disrupted by Terrorist Attacks in NYC, DC
The exhibit floor closed at 2 p.m. EST Tuesday. However, other functions, including seminars, remaining open. The show resumed on Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis.Like everywhere, Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were felt at Networld+Interop, the networking and telecommunications trade show held at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center this week. Most attendees and many exhibitors cut short their time at the show.
Organizers had expected 50,000 attendees, but at noon yesterday the show floor was a virtual ghost town. Many of the remaining attendees huddled around television screens, monitoring live news coverage of the unfolding events.
The main cause for anxiety by attendees wasn't necessarily the potential of attack at the show itself, but rather the physical location of the show. CNN Center is across the street from the Georgia World Congress Center, and at 10 a.m. Tuesday CNN closed the building to the public and sent home all personnel not directly working on stories related to the attacks.
Show organizers also halted all freight deliveries to the show. "We have stopped all freight deliveries because of this," Bill Miller, director of administrative services for the center, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Web site. "We are maintaining close communication with the Atlanta Police Department and consistent communications with our security officers."
N+I reopened Wednesday, however traffic on the show floor was sparse, both in terms of attendees and exhibitors. Many large vendors pulled out of the show, leaving dark and uninhabited booths in some of the busiest areas of the show floor.
Novell, which was using N+I as the platform for announcing the impending release of NetWare 6, had minimal staff manning just one theater area in its large floor area. Novell workers were told by the company's executive staff that the booth was scaled back in response to yesterday's tragedies, allowing families to reunite.
Other large vendors pulling from the show included AT&T Business, Visual Networking, Broadwing, and IDG. Microsoft's booth was home to two extremes: its Windows XP Professional Hands-On Lab was packed, while its .NET partner pavilion was closed and dark.
The remaining attendees were limited in their choices of keynotes and conferences as well. AT&T's David W. Dorman cancelled his keynote speech Wednesday, and half of Wednesday's conferences and workshops were cancelled, including the Best of Show awards ceremony.
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