Australian Products Dominate Internet World 98
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The Internet World 98 conference opened in Sydney, Australia, attracting record crowds and showcasing some pivotal developments in the Internet industry.
One local developer, Creative Digital Technologies, took the opportunity of the show to launch NetCommerce II, which it claimed was the first SET-compliant merchant server application in the world CDT's updated package. It was awarded the Best of Show prize by the Editor of Internet World Australia magazine, Gerard Knapp, in the highly competitive Business Software category.
Australian developer Knowledge by Design took the Business Hardware category for its "Telco in a Box", a PC bundle that allows voice over IP for up to 100 employees on a network through one remotely Web-administered server.
Finally, Pacific Access won the Consumer Software section for its work in Internet-enabling Australia's telephone directories, the White Pages public list and Yellow Pages commercial advertising directory, both of which are among the most popular Web sites in Australia.
The opening of the conference also signalled the start of a three-day string of conferences and keynotes.
In the ISPCON stream, Eric Scace, vice president of international development at UUNET Technologies, delivered a keynote address in which he sounded warnings about the prospects of key technologies for Internet service providers, and called into question the ability of the Australian industry to keep up with phenomenal demand for bandwidth upgrades.
Scace cited figures on the dramatic rise and fall in the number of ISPs in the US, saying that economies of scale would inevitably lead to consolidation of the market.
"We'd expect that to happen here, as it is happening in Europe and is continuing to happen in the Japanese market," Scace said. He gave a pessimistic reading of several connectivity technologies, including Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Voice-over-IP, and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Scace claimed that the VPN market had grown slower than had been expected, with branch networks sticking with leased lines instead of switching to Internet-only connectivity. He also asserted that ATM was "unlikely to survive" the Internet revolution as a longhaul switching technology, and said that UUNET had found that Voice-over-IP hardware was "not terribly scalable at the moment."