The changing face of corporate computing was evident at PC Expo last week, as traditional personal computer exhibitors were pushed into the backseat by makers of handheld and wireless devices.
Handheld devices were ubiquitous; huge swaths of the New York show floor were occupied by vendors pushing add-ons for Handspring, Palm and Windows CE devices. Palm, though it canceled plans to buy Extended Systems, said it will resell the companys software that allows synchronization of data between Palm devices, and Lotus Developments Domino and Microsofts Exchange servers. Palm also said it will join with Panasonic to promote the Secure Digital Associations standards for memory cards and input/output cards. Both companies are using the standards in their devices.
"Were still trying to see how PDAs [personal digital assistants] are going to affect us," said Marty Wallace, an administrator at the religious group that publishes The Watchtower magazine. "We want to see if they are cost-effective in the corporate environment."
Intel, meanwhile, touted its e-business initiatives as a way through the current slump. "E-business is here to stay," said Intel Vice President Michael Splinter. "In 1998, we had no customers on the Internet. Today we do over $2 billion a month." It is not just the dollar volume that impressed Intel, but the ability to improve services. "Weve moved orders to off-hours," Splinter said, "and gained efficiencies of 50 percent."
Some customers were still looking for the right e-business solutions.
"Im looking for things dealing with security and remote access, but I cant find them," said Steve Cone, systems administrator at Laser Technologies International, a maker of toner cartridges.