When several hundred computer industry insiders -- venture capitalists, product vendors, and media -- meet in San Diego this week to get a sneak peek at new products and services, they will be looking to get down to business.
The occasion is Internet Showcase '98, co-produced by Upside Magazine and consultant David Coursey, a small show with big implications. The 750 or so invitation-only attendees will be there to find out about the most important trends and products in the industry, and, as with other such small, exclusive gatherings, the show's highlights should cast a light on the future of the Net.
A major theme of the show will be E-commerce, Coursey said. "E-commerce is getting to be everywhere, and people are using it for all kinds of different things, from ordering and buying online, to customer support, customer literature," he observed, noting, "we did the registration for this conference online."
"Last year there were lots of things for consumers -- games, toys, Internet services," Coursey said. "But this year (the showcase) is more about business products... group editing and maintenance of Web sites, collaboration tools, higher quality application-builders."
Products being introduced at the show range from a commerce add-on to Microsoft's Frontpage 98 Web authoring application to applications for the largest and most heavily-trafficked Web sites, according to Coursey.
At the cutting edge of the E-commerce boom is the small office/home office market. Encanto's low-priced commerce server made waves at Internet World last month, and is expected to attract attention in San Diego as well. Companies like Tut Systems and Intelogis will be offering home-LAN products, which use houses' existing wiring to link several computers and printers.
NetObjects Inc.will debut the new version of its Fusion site-building tool. There may also be news of an upcoming project to combine the strengths of Fusion and another site-builder called Cold Fusion.
Some products will be of more general interest, such as Microsoft's promised demonstration of features that it plans to incorporate into its Office applications suite.
This is Showcase's second year. Previously Coursey ran InfoWorld's Demo conference for three years.