Scottsdale, Ariz. -- The crowd at the posh Demo 2004 conference here was about as well equipped with business gadgets as any group you're likely to encounter. There were more high-end laptops, PDA-phones, and wireless connectivity gadgets on the scene than there were logo-embossed polo shirts.
So it wasn't surprising that helping all of those devices share the same data and applications was a key theme of the show. Solutions ranged from traditional hardware and software concepts to completely re-imagining today's computing environments.
X Marks The Key Trying to mitigate the enterprise risks and costs associated with home PCs, Israel's Key Computing/Seaside Software Corp. showed off the Xkey, a thumb-sized USB appliance designed to "turn any PC into an personal, private, secure workstation," according to managing director Daniel Schreiber.
Users can plug the device in to any Windows PC, input a PIN number, and thereby establish a "sandbox," insulated from whatever else may be on the PC. Users see their own desktop environment, including their Exchange Server and whatever data and applications they have loaded. (Upcoming versions will automatically synchronize with the user's home desktop environment.) When disconnected, the Xkey leaves no traces on the PC to which it was connected.
The Xkey includes its own microprocessor, database, application server, Exchange client, cryptographic engine, authentication token, and up to 1 Gb of storage. When it ships in May, a 256-Mb Xkey will cost about $300.