We live in the age of ROI. What's the return on your investment, how do you measure it, how do you prove it? This pretty much applies to all of us, everywhere. I've been trying to come up with a formula that captures how all of this plays out — a kind of Moore's Law for marketing/conference/event ROI — and call it Hickey's law. If it gets into the mainstream I'll enjoy my requisite 15 minutes of fame. But enough of my delusions of grandeur, let's talk IWCE and why we're here. What's the ROI?

We're here because we need to learn. The velocity of change in public safety communications is real. From seismic shifts on the policy front (of course you're following the 700 MHz auctions — who isn't?) to the technology revolution (emerging all-you-can-eat IP systems immediately come to mind) there is a ton to absorb. IWCE, with its strong conference program that covers all aspects of this dynamic industry, gives us the opportunity to expand our knowledge and sharpen our skills so we can perform better in our job functions and thus provide a greater ROI to the organizations for which we toil. (If you think you already know everything and how it all will play out, save your money and stay home — on second thought, come to Vegas anyway and help me play the tables).

Here's another reason for attending IWCE: to find out what's the newest thing. Let's face it, we're all intrigued by the latest technology, that piece of equipment or application that stops us in our tracks and makes us wonder: What if we had that in our shop? IWCE is full of the latest, greatest new technology that will add real capability and productivity to your organization's mobile voice, data and video communications. It's all there! Without question, IWCE is the best opportunity of the year for you to comprehensively see and compare the different products and approaches that are fighting for a place in your network.

Still another excellent reason to attend is the ability to network and share with industry colleagues and subject-matter experts. We're all in this together, so events like IWCE give us the opportunity to share our experiences and knowledge — always a powerful thing. Think of all the experience you'll encounter at IWCE — solutions tried, shortcuts found, approaches to avoid — and you'll understand the power of human networks. Help us all by adding your voice — everyone has something to share.

And at the end of the day — after you've worked hard, learned all there is to learn, tried lots of new products, networked with savvy industry veterans - it is, after all, Vegas, baby. Always a trip, even if you don't gamble a nickel. Take just one look at all the buzz around you and you'll know you are in a town like no other and that you've already won big — you're at IWCE.