While so many other trade fairs have become shadows of their previous selves, DISTREE, once an obscure gathering of distributors from Eastern Europe, was larger and better attended in 2012 than in any of the previous ten years.
It is still small scale enough, both in terms of the numbers attending and from being located in Monaco, for chance meetings to take place. For me, it is an opportunity to compare notes with with distributors from many other countries inside and outside the EU, as well as take the organised meetings with vendors which pay for the conference.
Fitbit, a product which Widget introduced to the UK in January, which I first saw demonstrated at Distree last year, won an award for the second time.
This year’s parade of new products continued the sports theme with a golfing app with a sensor which attached to your golf club, and a ski-ing product from Recon Instruments in Vancouver which projects your speed and even the contents of incoming text messages inside your ski goggles. I met Darcy Hughes from Recon in the bar before the demonstration and he assured me that sales were growing in Europe that he had expanded his London office to ten staff to cope with demand.
The UK press has been enlivened this year by the tale of the football manager who opened a bank account in the name of his dog at a Monaco bank. Although this has been presented to the public as a comedy, the existence of tax havens such as Monaco undermines the economy of Europe and encourages corruption. But as an alternative to the hurly burly of CES in Las Vegas, or the windswept plains of Hanover, Monte Carlo appears to be a more civilised place to hold a trade fair.
it is hard to complain too much when the sun is shining and the drink is flowing.