With UK trade shows increasingly missing their targets, and user groups on the decline, vendors over here are having to find different ways to get their message across to the punters. EMAP Exhibitions, recently under fire for its failure to generate sufficient public interest for events such as the Solutions for Workstations Show in London and Birmingham’s IBM ’93 Show, is not alone in failing to satisfy its exhibitors: last year Reed Exhibitions gave up on its open systems event, and even high-flyer Blenheim Exhibitions cut the conference it had planned to run beside the Software Development Show. Now a group of vendors has got together to do its own research and marketing to find out what sort of show would attract computer users. Named the Ascot Group after the location of their first meeting, the members include Sun Microsystems Inc, IBM Corp, Silicon Graphics Inc, Apple Computer Inc, Applix Inc, Santa Cruz Operation Inc and WordPerfect Corp. It’s not yet clear whether the group plans to put on its own show as a result of the research. Meanwhile, another group, the Visual Forum – the Vendor Independent Software Users Associates – is launching as an independent user group for both software vendors and users. Members are thought to include Oracle Corp, Softlab GmbH, SAS Institute Inc, Data General Corp, Performance Software Inc and Neuron Data Inc. Ian Hugo (founder of the UK Computer Measurement Group) and Robin Bloor of consultant ButlerBloor are behind the group, which will also have input from X/Open and the Object Management Group. It will tackle some of the technical issues of software integration and interoperability that user groups, such as the UK’s UniForum user group, have not generally addressed. Roger Frampton, who resigned his position as director of UniForum a few weeks back, has now turned up as a director of Sun software expert MicroMuse Ltd.