Last November, you didn't need the mental faculties of Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men to calculate how many delegates were at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.
The empty floors, paltry exhibition space and ability to hail taxis with ease was evidence enough that the once-giant IT lovefest was losing its appeal.
There was a time when Comdex could attract more than 100,000 visitors. It was the show you had to go to if you wanted to keep in touch with what was hot in the IT industry.
But this much-loved institution looks likely to be usurped by a bigger Las Vegas attraction, the increasingly important International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
In the past, the consumer end of the market may not have been on many resellers' radars, but things could be about to change.
As more and more technologies such as wireless are targeted at the home market, many vendors, including Linksys, a division of networking behemoth Cisco, are suggesting that the home market could provide a huge opportunity for networking VARs.
Another key area being touted by the vendors as a potential reseller goldmine in the consumer space is audiovisual (AV).
So it was perhaps no surprise to see the big guns of the IT industry, among them Bill Gates and Michael Dell, wheeled out at CES this month, as the IT giants made clear their intention to train their sights on this lucrative area of the market.
To this end, Cisco is set to roll out a Partner Connect programme to attract networking and AV resellers, while consumer giant Sony will soon be rolling out a channel programme to help its resellers glean more of its consumer electronics business.
For resellers looking to expand portfolios and find rich new revenue streams in new markets this is great news.
It is also pleasing that vendors are including VARs in their route-to-market strategies for consumer products, rather than relying solely on the high street, superstores and online retail outlets to satisfy consumer demand.
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