Comdex '99: keeps growing from its roots

Bigger, better organised and more focused on resellers

The 20th anniversary edition of COMDEX/Fall promises to be bigger, better organised and more focused on resellers.

The fun begins two days before the exhibit halls open, giving everyone more time to learn and schmooze. You'll need the extra days. Over 2,000 exhibitors and 200,000 attendees are expected. More than 80 conference sessions are scheduled.

Saturday and Sunday, November 13-14, are filled with developers' clinics, technical and marketing tutorials, Java University, the International Business Summit and the IT Executive Symposium. Details on selected sessions follow.

"Channel Professionals" is one of the four conference tracks this year, pulling together the most pertinent, profitable information for our readers. E-business, convergence and software platforms are the main topics. A roster of leading vendor executives and industry experts will deliver the road maps and insights you need to succeed in the next millennium.

Sm@rt Reseller helped produce a full day of one-on-one meetings and hands-on demos with the solution providers you've been looking for. Also new is the COMDEX Connect Channel Edition, a database of hot opportunities for resellers and vendors seeking resellers. Drop by the International Business Center at the show to enter your profile and needs.

The keynote presentations also should draw your interest. Bill Gates will present the first address on Sunday, at 7:00 p.m. Several more keynotes follow during the week, featuring HP's Carly Fiorina; Sony's Nobuyuki Idei; Cisco's John Chambers; Eric Schmidt of Novell; Sun's Scott McNealy; and Rick Thoman from Xerox.

The exhibit halls are divided into four broad technology areas. Software Platforms includes all flavors of Windows, Unix, Linux, Java and Sun's fledgling Jini. The E-Commerce area features products for collaboration, supply-chain management and customer relationship management, as well as e-stores and Web-publishing solutions. The Communications & Networking area encompasses IP-based networks, broadband technologies, voice/data/video convergence, security options and wireless solutions. The Information Appliances area includes "smart" cell phones; handhelds running Windows CE or Palm OS; and other mobile, Internet-connected devices.

Four new pavilions (those popular shoe-saving concentrations of closely related exhibitors) will debut. One pavilion spotlights development tools and wireless communication products based on Bluetooth, the emerging international specification for short-range, ad hoc networking. Eastman Kodak sponsors a pavilion for its imaging solution providers, independent software and hardware vendors, and OEMs. Small, smart devices ranging from Internet phones to set-top boxes, wireless e-mail-reading PDAs, automobile GPS-navigation systems and more will abound in the Information Appliances Pavilion sponsored by National Semiconductor. Canadian technologies, partnership and investment opportunities will gather in one pavilion.

"Hot Spots" resellers should visit feature crash courses and hands-on demos of biometric-identification systems; security technologies such as firewalls, VPN, encryption, authentication and content security; small-office and home-networking solutions based on wireless technologies.