Interop New York To Shine Spotlight On Mobility, Cloud Computing

The industry’s premier networking event, held in New York Sept. 15-19, will host keynotes from Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com, Marie Hattar of Cisco, and Ronald W. Hovsepian of Novell. Also on tap are deep dives in virtualization, green IT, and security, and the Mobile Business Expo.

Antone Gonsalves

July 31, 2008

5 Min Read
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Interop 2008, a foremost business technology event tackling the biggest issues in computer networking, heads to New York in September with a strong lineup of keynotes, workshops, and other events covering the hottest IT issues, ranging from cloud computing and green IT to virtualization and videoconferencing.

The Big Apple show, Sept. 15-19, promises to be bigger than last year, with more than 250 exhibitors -- 20% more than last year -- and a 7% increase in attendees, organizers say. The show's growth reflects how companies view technology as helping to reduce costs in a weak economy.

"There's a lot of emerging technology that can make a difference," Interop general manager Lenny Heymann said. "There's a lot of depth this year in areas such as cloud computing, virtualization, and mobility that didn't exist last year."

Indeed, this year's keynoters include Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive of Salesforce.com. The success of Salesforce has been an important driver behind the trend among corporations to adopt the software-as-a-service model for some applications, particularly for CRM and sales and marketing management. Salesforce offers CRM applications as a Web service.

Other keynoters include Marie Hattar, VP of network systems and security solutions at Cisco; and Ronald W. Hovsepian, president and chief executive of Novell. Hattar is expected to discuss trends in data centers and videoconferencing, and Hovsepian is expected to address the latest in virtualization.

Interop's Five Tracks

Interop this year is bringing five "focused zones" along with the general IT expo. Vendors associated with each group will exhibit at the same hall, but workshops and other activities will be separate. Benioff's keynote will be open to attendees of Interop and the Web 2.0 Expo.

The other mini-shows include the bMighty.com SMB Theater and Pavilion, which features technology targeted at small and midsize businesses; the Mobile Business Expo, which is geared toward attendees interested in exploring wireless technologies, mobile devices and applications; the Security & Compliance Zone, which will offer the opportunity to evaluate security technology; and Startup City, which will highlight innovations from technology companies that have been in the market for a year or less.Mobility is expected to be one of the hottest topics at this year's show. Smartphones are an emerging technology that can boost productivity, particularly among sales staff and executives. Research In Motion's BlackBerry is the leader in business, particularly as a device for accessing e-mail. Apple, however, is poised to become a player with the new 3G iPhone, a faster version of the original that has been opened up to third-party developers and corporate IT to build applications that can run on the device.

The high interest in the Mobile Business Expo reflects the amount of attention corporations have given mobile devices and software over the last year, Heymann said. "Businesses are adopting mobility in a big way in their business plans."

The mobile expo this year consists of five tracks: application development for smartphones, enterprise wireless, mobile Internet, mobile toolsets, and wireless technology. The first track covers app dev for the BlackBerry, for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and for the Symbian operating system, which is found in smartphones from Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson.

Of course, there will also be sessions on development for the two newest platforms, Google Android and Apple's 3G iPhone, which became available in July.

Apple's decision to release a software development kit for the latest iPhone has generated a huge amount of interest among developers and the session is expected to be well attended. Experts in the platform will examine how to develop applications for the iPhone, with an overview of the capabilities of the platform for consumers and businesses.

Google Android is an open source platform expected to challenge the Symbian OS. The session will explore the OS, software development frameworks, tools, and hardware capabilities of the Android architecture.

With so many platforms to choose from deciding which fits a company's needs may be difficult. To help IT professionals decide, the mobile expo includes a session that promises to provide a lively debate on the question: What is the best software environment for mobile devices?Videoconferencing also appears to be taking off, driven mostly by the high cost of travel stemming from the rise in fuel prices. "Given that people are interested in trying to cut travel, videoconferencing is an area that's going to grow," Heymann said.

Some of the featured vendors in the areas of videoconferencing include LifeSize Communications, Polycom, Tanberg, and Cisco.

For the first time at Interop New York, organizers are introducing an "unconference," an innovative format that tosses aside the typical speakers before a passive audience and creates a collaborative forum in which attendees list topics and then form discussion groups around each one.

The unconference at Interop New York -- which is called the Energy Camp scheduled for Sept. 16 -- will cover the growing impact of today's energy costs on IT's bottom line and the overarching importance of energy conservation and utilizing eco-friendly IT products and methods.

While not an unconference, Interop is also offering a CIO Boot Camp Sept. 15-16 that will include time with a group of been-there-done-that C-class executives from billion-dollar-plus organizations. The "CIO Posse" will share their mistakes and in personalized workshops demonstrate how these lessons apply to attendees' work life.

Besides the above highlights, there will be a host of workshops covering key IT topics ranging from virtualization and disaster recovery to troubleshooting Ethernet and switched networks and understanding voice over IP.

In addition, there's a comprehensive lineup of tracks covering cloud computing, application delivery, Enterprise 2.0, green IT, software as a service, service-oriented architecture, unified communications, and much more.

With so much discussion on new technology and trends, this year's Interop New York is expected to give attendees plenty of ideas to bring back to their IT organizations.

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