Issues such as voice-over-IP and e-commerce are likely to be hot topics at the Networks '99 show in Birmingham, which opens today.
Computer telephony integration continues to be much-touted and old favourites from Gigabit Ethernet to wireless networking will also be key focuses for vendors.
PC Week talked to users about their plans for the show.
Mark Charlton, network consultant at the University of Warwick, admitted that he is a browser with limited expectations. "There's nothing particular I am looking for, except perhaps UPSs," he explained. "I am not interested in voice-over-IP. I'm not a great fan. There is little application for it here. I'll be using the show more to say hi to a few people, browse and see what is new and if anything catches my eye. We're in the process of installing a lot of kit now, including an ATM network, so we don't actually have a lot of money left, and I am not looking to buy anything major."
Keith Cass, head of IT and communications at ITN, was a little more optimistic about IP-based voice and data networking. "It's our first time at the show and we'll be using it to catch up on what is going on," he said.
"I am particularly interested in voice- and data-over-IP, ATM-driven networking and security over Web issues. We're making no major buying decisions there - it's just about finding out about technologies are around."
Andy Ross, director of e-commerce strategy at NatWest, is running a seminar on developing e-commerce on day one. He sees the show as a strategic opportunity for NatWest. "It's a great opportunity for us to talk to small businesses about what we are doing. I don't actually know too much about it so my expectations are good I suppose," he said.
"I'm expecting a mixed crowd for my seminar on developing e-commerce solutions," he added. "I'm sure there will be some experts, sceptics and those that don't have the knowledge and want to find out more. I'm not sure what else is going to be of interest. I'll have to wait and see."
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