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"Randy" Lynch vibrates at CeBIT

I spent enough time at CeBIT last week to know the telecommunications industry was well represented ... but not always without controversy.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

I spent enough time at CeBIT last week to know the telecommunications industry was well represented ... but not always without controversy.

First cab off the rank was Telstra's Randy Lynch, one of the "amigos" the telco's new chief executive Sol Trujillo has imported to help him run the company.

During a keynote speech on Tuesday morning, Lynch found both his BlackBerry and mobile phone devices were vibrating in his pocket.

A situation particularly apt, Lynch joked on stage, "when you have a name like Randy."

The former US West staffer went on to narrate to the audience the circumstances under which he came to be employed at Telstra. "I called Sol -- he didn't call me," he said, noting he had worked with Trujillo for a number of years.

While the audience seemed initially receptive to Lynch's presentation on IP networking, the room temperature dropped several degrees when his American background showed through a little too clearly.

Making a joke about the difficulty of pronouncing CSIRO, Lynch went on to pronounce the acronym "cicero".

The gaffe was particularly damning as Lynch was outlining a case study where the nation's peak research body bought services from Telstra. For the record, Randy, it's SEE-ESS-EYE-ARR-OH.

Lynch had better luck with a story about how he knocked a hole in the wall of his house in order to get an Ethernet cable to his kids' XBOX gaming system.

Later in the week I caught up with some executives from Huawei who told me their huge stall had recently been visited by Special Minister of State Gary Nairn and federal government CIO Ann Steward.

"Did the minister understand all the technology?" was the question I posed.

"Actually he's quite interested in the technology, for example like IPTV, UMTS, HSDPA," laughed Huawei's local deputy managing director Hong Re.

Perhaps Nairn is more conversant with the techno-acronym world than the average legislator?

Also sniffing around Huawei's stand while I was there were a few representatives from rival vendors ... those nametags were a dead giveaway guys! Checking out the competition maybe?

On a more serious note, there was a fairly large presence from the telecomms industry. Optus, Hutchison, Huawei and Freshtel all had huge stands in CeBIT's official telco space, and elsewhere every second stall was demonstrating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

And the decks weren't just being manned by booth babes or low-level flunkies. For example, Engin's Ilkka Tales, Polycom's James Anderson and senior Internode executives were all out pressing the flesh.

Well-known telecommunications analyst Paul Budde certainly worked hard at the conference, presenting at no less than fourteen sessions. One wonders whether it was mobile voice or CeBIT itself that was the killer application for Budde after his sixth-straight presentation on Wednesday afternoon.

Take a rest this week Paul, and we'll see everyone else at CeBIT next year!

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