We have a mission at Penton Media, which is to provide vital information, via as many media as possible, to our audiences — information that they can use to improve their processes and serve their customers better. In our little corner of the world, we have at our disposal the International Wireless Communications Expo, held annually in Las Vegas; the print edition and electronic newsletters produced under the Urgent Communications banner; and webcasts, podcasts, and daily news stories and columns posted to the UC website. The newest wrinkle is the IWCE/UC virtual trade show, with the inaugural event scheduled next month on Dec. 6.

The virtual event is very much like the live event that will be held next February but on a smaller scale. Attendees will be able to visit virtual booths, where they will be able to learn about new products and chat with vendor representatives. In the virtual conference center, they will be able to attend four webinars designed to provide insight and perspective on where the public-safety communications is heading and how it is likely to get there. The webinars are as follows:

  • Will Broadband Voice Replace Narrowband Voice?
  • Comparing Digital Technologies: P25, TETRA, DMR and LTE
  • IP in an LMR World
  • Implementing Broadband Communications

Attendees also can access a library of useful items produced by vendors, such as white papers, product-demonstration videos and audio product reviews.

We’re pretty excited about this. We were the first in our industry to do e-newsletters, webinars and podcasts, the first to incorporate video into our reporting, and now we’re bringing a taste of the IWCE experience to your computer screen. The information presented will be top-notch — you wouldn’t expect anything less from an IWCE/UC-branded event, would you? — and you can’t beat the convenience. I really hope you attend.

Speaking of the live IWCE show in Las Vegas, we’re also pretty excited about its 2012 keynote speaker, Bobby Valentine. Currently a baseball analyst for ESPN, Valentine was a can’t-miss prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers who played his first game in the major leagues at the tender age of 19. His career was derailed in 1973 after he suffered multiple compound fractures when his spikes caught in the outfield fence while trying to snare a home-run ball. However, he reinvented himself as a popular and successful manager in both Japan and the U.S. — in 2009, fans of Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines collected 112,000 signatures in an attempt to convince the team to keep him as its manager — and piloted the New York Mets into the World Series in 2000.

Because I’m such a huge baseball fan, it would be logical to think that’s the reason I’m excited about Valentine speaking at IWCE next year. And, I would be lying if I said the connection to our national pastime wasn’t a factor. But there’s more to it than that — a lot more. You see, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Valentine showed up unannounced at Shea Stadium, whose parking lot was being used as a relief center, to help out. Today, he is the director of public safety and public health for his hometown of Stamford, Conn. For his service, he receives a token salary of $10,000 per year — money he donates to charity.

How cool is that?

What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.