I'm off to a hotel close to the Edgware Road today to chair a panel at Cal-IT, the California-meets-Europe show run by our European Technology Forum division. It's a good chance for businesses to swap ideas and contacts, and the opportunity to spend a little time in the old country for our transatlantic cousins. It's run in conjunction with the State of California and the Governator himself is due to show -- but urgent matters in Japan of all places have his attention, so we get a deputy.
The panel -- on the future of IT security -- seems to go well. Among the gratifyingly talkative panellists is the reliably garrulous Paul Simmonds, global security bod at ICI, and the urbane yet un-Sir Humphryesque Dr Steve Marsh, who is the bizarrely titled Central Sponsor for Information Assurance at the Cabinet Office. Simmonds is given to making pronouncements such as "People who buy PDAs should be shot!", while Marsh shows a disconcertingly believable brand of common sense. Things start a little treacly, but by the end everyone's firing on all cylinders, the audience is still with us and it's possible to get away with a couple of jokes.
I'm cornered after the panel and whisked away by Bruce Watkins and Laurie Peters-Watkins, the husband and wife team who are CEO and PR at Pulselink, a Californian ultrawideband (or just UWB) company. As tapas are served by London's most flirtatious Spanish waiter, I get the run-down on what the company's been up to. There's a lot to get through -- UWB down cables and over power lines, Russian design teams making silicon do things silicon doesn't normally get to do, chips that'll run every radio protocol under the sun at the same time and still have time to whistle The Star-Spangled Banner in three-part harmony. We also discuss the business of UK UWB -- we'd heard a rumour from a very good source that the UK standards will be very similar to the US, but a bit tighter in some respects. Pulselink knew stuff, but weren't really saying - however, it didn't seem we were too wide of the mark. "Of course," said Bruce as he stabbed a slice of chorizo, "we don't care. Our chips will do anything. Patatas bravas?"
However, our reports of such a rumour do not go down well in certain corners. A company, which shall remain nameless because we want to get some more stuff out of them, phones up and says "Who told you that? It's just not so!" Um, well, we can't say. The odd thing is, both parties to this rumourfest really should know what they're talking about and normally we'd be happy to give either of them a lot of credence. Something odd is cooking in the never a dull moment world of Euro-UWB. Me, I just want some products to play with.