Interop Hoopla May Signal Return of IT Market
LAS VEGASWhile financial analysts on Wednesday downgraded their IT growth forecasts a point or so, spending looked up on the floor of the annual Interop show here.
According to Ben Stricker, a spokesperson with show organizer Media Live International Inc. of San Francisco, the company expects about 17,500 attendees this year, up from last years 16,000, and has 375 exhibitors, up from 340 last year. He also said that the company expects that growth will be strong enough to support a second show in December 2005.
Exhibitors at the Interop show clearly shared the organizers view of the renewed strength in the IT industry. Booths were clearly upgraded from last year and there were more activities that previous exhibitors had dismissed as frivolous. Such attention-getters as climbing walls and football stars appeared on the show floor.
Yankee Group Senior Research Analyst George Hamilton said such expenditures are a sure sign that companies are optimistic about the outlook for their industry. He said that just the willingness by exhibitors to hire models and sports figures to promote them shows that money was flowing back.
For example, BlueCat Networks Inc., of Richmond Hill, Ontario, used a NASCAR race car and a pair of professional models to draw attention to its line of enterprise network appliances for DNS (Domain Name System) and DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
Likewise, communications accelerator maker Tarari Inc. brought a speed-skating team the company sponsors in San Diego to wow attendees with their skating skills in the aisles of the trade show. Unfortunately, the risk-averse organizers quickly made the team switch to sneakers instead of skates. The company also introduced a set of five XML-performance benchmark tests for its Tarari RAX 4 Content Processor system.
In another vote of confidence in the growing IT economy, AWS Convergence Technologies Inc. introduced a product for the enterprise under its WeatherBug brand. This was the first IT show for the Gaithersburg, Md.-based provider of weather and forecasting information to consumers, education and the government, company officials said.
Vice President Yossi Firstenberg said the new service is WeatherBugs first created for IT managers and is aimed at providing enterprises with critical weather forecasting data and early warnings of potential impact of weather systems globally. It is intended to allow IT managers to prepare for weather-related events.
However, research group IDC, of Framingham, Mass., on Wednesday revised its 2005 predictions for IT spending. While the first quarter results were stable and many companies reported solid growth, IDC said economic problems in Western Europe and in Japan showed weakness in the market.
Growth projections for the U.S. market were down slightly, from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. However, Japanese spending growth fell from 3.2 percent to 1.2 percent, and spending in Europe went from 5.8 percent to 4.4 percent.
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