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Doors Open on Supercomm 2005

CHICAGO Supercomm 2005 – The telecom industry’s annual technology shindig, Supercomm, hosted by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), kicks off at the McCormick Place conference center here today.

At least one source is upbeat. Matt Flanigan, president of the TIA, says things are looking up in the telecom sector, which was hammered during the global economic slowdown. “Our pre-registration is running 4,000 ahead of the same time last year,” he says. This year’s attendance is expected to be around the 30,000 mark, up from 26,000 in 2004.

The uptick could spell good news for vendors of data center kit, Flanigan says: “2004 was the first time in four years that there was an increase in buying. Telecom has really turned the corner.”

The conference circuit has traditionally been a good barometer for the health of a given industry, and attendances were also up at the recent Interop show in Las Vegas (see Interop '05 Opens Its Doors).

This year's Supercomm show is expected to highlight the link between IT and telecom in several areas. From Flanigan's perspective, areas of special interest include:

  • Grid computing: Flanigan believes grid computing is on the rise in the telecom sector, after initial uncertainty about deploying the technology (see Telecom Firms Grappling With the Grid). “In order to remain competitive [telecom providers] need to look at all the new equipment that is coming down."
  • VOIP: As at last year’s event, Flanigan predicts that voice-over-IP will be high on the agenda at Supercomm, along with wireless and the triple play of voice, data, and video.
  • Security: Security is always a hot topic for any kind of IT. On the telecom side, Flanigan thinks some of the VOIP security issues that were highlighted last year are now getting resolved (see VOIP Security Poses a Problem and Vendor Points to VOIP Vulnerabilities). “It’s still an issue, but there are solutions out there. You will see a lot of this at Supercomm.”
  • Internet Protocol TV (IPTV): Another hot button, according to Flanigan, with a portion of the show floor given over to live demos of the technology, hosted by the TIA and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
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