Convergence and Security Headline CTIA Show

At the annual CTIA confab, vendors will gather to show off many of the new products and services that will arrive in the wireless space this year.

The convergence of wireless services, expansion of the digital footprint in the home and office, and security defenses necessary to protect all those technologies will dominate headlines at next weeks CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas.

The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Associations annual meeting in the desert is expected to draw some 40,000 people into the citys massive Convention Center starting April 5, and will showcase many of the new products and services slated to arrive on the mobile communications market this year, organizers said.

From new devices expected from the worlds largest handset manufacturers to bundled content services delivering scads of new multimedia applications to consumers, the conference is expected to deliver a string of high-profile news announcements. Organizers said that roughly 1,000 companies have reserved a spot on the trade shows floors.

Among the companies expected to make news at the conference are handset makers Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, all of whom are expected to roll out new models.

Nokia Chief Executive Jorma Ollila will serve as the conferences opening keynote speaker and is expected to speak about the importance of emerging markets worldwide to the continued growth of the wireless sector.

Along with a list of executives from wireless companies in the United States and Europe, executives from countries including Russia and Afghanistan are slated to weigh in on the topic.

While consolidation among large U.S. wireless carriers such as AT&T and BellSouth is likely to steer conversations around the growth of the U.S. mobile services industry, the convergence of voice, text and multimedia applications will find its way into much of what major U.S. carriers are expected to announce at the show. Top executives from Cingular Wireless and Sprint Nextel are scheduled to speak.

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"A key theme of this years event is convergence, not just within the wireless industry as we have seen with several carriers, but within all communication sectors," Robert Mesirow, show director for CTIA Wireless, said in a statement.

Networking companies are also expected to detail many new products at the CTIA show, including Nortel, which will announce several infrastructure technologies aimed at wireless carriers. Among the products the company said it will show off are tools for use by operators in delivering services such as high-speed video and multimedia applications.

The company said it will specifically introduce new technologies around rural WiMax, integrated communications, streaming video and business applications for verticals including the health care market. In the enterprise wireless space, the company will demonstrate new WLAN (wireless local access network) and wireless mesh technologies.

"The solutions being demonstrated run the gamut from those that serve operators, enterprises and ultimately consumers to new technologies that are changing our lives through broadband wireless connections," said Richard Lowe, president of mobility at Nortel.

In the consumer space, much of the news at the show will center on the so-called wireless home, a model of which located on the conference floor will show off some of the technologies being introduced in Las Vegas.

Companies participating in related new announcements include non-traditional wireless players such as automaker Daimler-Chrysler, which is expected to release research conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consultant Accenture will display energy-saving "smart metering" tools to measure the use of in-home devices.

Along with the products and services being offered at the show, experts will also detail some of their latest wireless sector research.

Anti-malware software vendor Symantec, for example, will be detailing a new survey that contends that 60 percent of enterprise companies are delaying the launch of new mobile technologies based on security concerns.

Drawn from interviews with 240 IT executives who work at companies with international operations, the report also examines the growing employment of mobile security applications. Symantec contends that 55 percent of Western European businesses have security software in place to protect mobile data, compared with 44 percent in Asia-Pacific and only 36 percent in North America.

The CTIA Wireless 2006 show will run through April 7.

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