And, says Michael Hughes of Tradeshow Week, some in the industry expect the biggest shows eventually to leverage their physical existence and brand identity into online business-to-business exchanges. Why couldn’t shows like PC Expo or Comdex have a year-round cyber presence, with virtual booths selling goods and services?

So Palm will make sure its virtual booth is handy, not only during the show, but before and after. That way, attendees can not only plan their visit, but also double-check to make sure they didn’t miss anything afterward.

“We just couldn’t believe how heavily trafficked it was last year,” says Pataki. “We were able to touch so many people in so many different ways that we never would have reached before.”

Not if they all had to wait in line at the Javits Center.

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if you’re heading to the javits center for all of techxny, or just pc expo, do yourself a favor and go virtual first. here’s where: