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More Interop Thoughts ? Web 2.0 Comes of Age

Following up on Melanie Turek’s post, I wanted to share some of my own thoughts from a week in Las Vegas at Interop.

I’ve been attending Interop almost every year since 1999, I’ve seen this show grow to be one of the largest events in Las Vegas, and shrink to become a smaller, (but still large by IT tradeshow standards) event in the last few years.  This year, the second year of a successful move to the Mandalay Bay convention center, saw Interop again grow, with an advertised attendance of over 21,000 people.

Interop is a disjointed show that appeals to a wide spectrum of IT focus areas.  Historically, the show was focused on network infrastructure (and of course, interoperability).  This year’s show had four primary focus areas as best I could tell:

  Network security - with a number of vendors in the access security, firewall, and security management space
  Wireless – including WLAN, fixed-mobile convergence, and line-of-site/microwave technologies
  Network management – including areas related to application performance management, WAN optimization, network testing, and IP address, DNS, and DHCP management
  Unified communications – including VOIP and video

I was able to spend some time with several of the video conferencing vendors, most of whom are following Cisco’s marketing lead for telepresence with high-definition and telepresence offerings of their own.  Vendors such as LifeSize tout video quality on-par with Cisco but at a far lower cost, while TANDBERG and PolyCom touted a broad array of products designed for a variety of participants across distributed locations (and even tele-workers). 

Another interest area for me was the development of Web 2.0 tools.  I had the opportunity to see how Web 2.0 tools such as RSS, wikis, bookmarks, and social computing are making the leap into other enterprise applications.  For instance, FireScope demonstrated a security management console that included the ability for network managers to blog, tag, and collaborate directly from within the AJAX-based management application.  In the Web 2.0 pavilion, RSSbus demonstrated it’s middleware platform enabling customized RSS feeds that can be mated to almost any enterprise application (for example, the ability to generate RSS feeds from CRM or ERP applications).  Also in the Web 2.0 pavilion eTelos displayed its capability to provide off-line access to web-based applications.

Seeing a “Web 2.0” pavilion at a show that has historically focused on network infrastructure underscores the fact that we are moving beyond introducing the market to the concepts of Web 2.0.  Now, we are seeing the capabilities of Web 2.0 leveraged to solve real-world challenges around network management, collaboration, and application access.  We’ve come along way from the days of IPX and interoperability as the dominant concerns of the day.

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