Predicting The Future Of Communications In Boston

Perennial reports of the phantom 'AppleBerry' from Research In Motion and a Google phone aren't likely to come to fruition at next week's VON show.

IT decision makers are facing something of a dilemma these days: Many advanced communications developments have been adopted, but companies and consumers don't necessarily know what to do with them.

A host of presenting and exhibiting companies are hoping to clear the air at the Fall VON Conference taking place in Boston next week.

Conference spokesman Carl Ford says the sessions have been established to address the most pressing issues in today's communications world. The conference features a four-day series of tutorials and breakout sessions.

"We want to figure out where we're going to be in two years," said Ford, the community developer and VP of content of Pulver Media, who has assembled the speaker lineup. "For instance, now that much of the landline side of the business has played out, we want to address where wireless is going. We've got social networking, but what are we going to do with it?"

More than 200 exhibitors are scheduled to attend and some important new products are expected to be unveiled.

For instance, while the perennial reports of the phantom AppleBerry from Research In Motion and a Google phone aren't likely to come to fruition at the conference, a buzz has been growing that Nokia could announce a VoIP deal with Skype for its phones to use Wi-Fi. Skype has a Wi-Fi phone, but Nokia doesn't have a Skype phone. Nokia said it won't comment on its future plans.

The speaker lineup includes Jeff Pulver, founder and chairman of PulverMedia; Jeff Weber, VP of product and strategy for AT&T Operations; Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and GM of Intel's ultra mobility group; Paul Mankiewich, chief technology officer, North America, for Alcatel-Lucent; and Christopher Fine, VP, Global Technology Division, Goldman Sachs.

Future wireless technologies will be discussed by several speakers under the heading of "4G Wireless Mobility: Alternative Access in a Number of Ways." Speakers will include Ali Tabassi, of Sprint Nextel, which has announced plans to deploy both CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. A and WiMax, and CEO Jeffrey Thompson of Towerstream, which supplies WiMax to business users.

The hot subject of femtocells will be covered in several sessions, beginning on Tuesday. "We'll try to get an idea of what your (home) network will look like in a year or two," said Ford.

Other sessions will cover topics ranging from 911 services and SIP developments to IMS interoperability issues and mobile VoIP.

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