20th TechXNY Stresses IT ‘Needs’

When it kicks off its 20th year as one of the biggest information technology
trade shows on the east coast, organizers of New York’s TechXNY and PCExpo will have adjusted
their themes and marketing to reflect the economic realities facing the technology
industry.

For starters, that means catering to attendees shopping for IT “needs” rather
than the cutting edge IT “wants” during the conference and exhibition at the
Jacob Javits Center June 24th through the 27th.

“I think the 45,000 attendees we’re expecting will be looking for more
practical products that will solve specific problems,” said Christina
Condos, the director of the show for the sponsor, technology publisher CMP
Media.

A poll CMP conducted with this year’s attendees showed the most interest in
security, wireless, business intelligence and storage. Between 35 percent
and 48 percent said they expect their IT budgets in these areas to either
remain the same or increase in the next six months.

The trend helps explain keynote appearances this year by representatives of
both the FBI and a technology venture firm of the CIA.

During his keynote address, Walter Wright, FBI supervisory special agent, is
expected to touch on the new era dawning for the bureau as it responds to
President Bush’s directive to reorganize amid criticism over how it
handled terrorist investigations before and after September 11th.

Gilman Louie, chief executive of In-Q-Tel, the non-profit venture capital arm of the
Central Intelligence Agency, is also expected to be a draw because of its
post-September 11th mandates. In-Q-Tel was created in 1999 in order to help
the CIA get cutting edge security technology into use more quickly. Since
last fall when the Defense Department announced that it was looking for new
security products to help fight terrorism, thousands of companies have
responded with proposals.

Right now, In-Q-Tel has investments in about 20 portfolio companies, and is said to be looking for more, especially in knowledge management products.

Because of the President’s order to reorganize and modernize both the FBI
and the CIA, it’s also no secret that the government is looking to spend more
than it usually does on new technology — especially on tools that help
agencies manage and sift through huge amounts of data.

As far as other trends in the CMP poll, “we’re also seeing budget increases
for the mainstream IT products: PC network products, Web site development
and peripherals,” Condos said.

Sixty-three percent of the attendees CMP polled said they had been
negatively impacted by the economic downturn, including working longer hours
because of staff layoffs, and capital investments as well as software
development projects that are still on hold.

The sentiment may help explain why seminar attendance is up this year as
attendees look for more bang from their participation bucks. For example,
two-day “boot camps” in Windows 2000 and Linux development are proving
popular draws, she said, followed by the Java, Web services and XML
seminars.

Beyond security and data storage, other keynote address themes are
shaping up as a mix of the practical while looking to the future.

Jeff Raikes, Microsoft’s group vice president of productivity and business
services for Microsoft, is expected to discuss trends in “next generation
knowledge worker productivity.”

A keynote special panel including executives from Cisco Systems, HP,
PalmSource and Novell, will discuss “Integrating Business and IT Yesterday
and Tomorrow.”

IBM’s Nicholas M. Donofrio, senior vice president of technology and
manufacturing, is expected to continue framing the company’s vision of the
next wave of open source computing platforms. Plus, David Nagel, CEO of
PalmSource, will make his pitch about the “the future of handhelds in the
enterprise.”

The flat spending outlook doesn’t mean the over 300 exhibitors, including
every major name in technology, won’t spare their cutting edge technologies
either. Exhibitors such as Microsoft, Sun, Palm, IBM and HP are gearing up to rain down a week of product announcements and alliances
highlighting their latest wares.

And although security, storage and mobile technologies are among the top
interests with developers, the “DVExpo” showcase of digital video, including DVD multi drives that write to all DVD formats, is expecting brisk traffic. Just as last year’s
wireless exhibitors drew more consumer interest than IT executives, white
hot DVD technology and supporting products could be a similar draw this
year.

Still, although the show is spread out among three floors this year, it is
slightly smaller than last year’s, Condos conceded. “It’s been a challenging
year for everyone,” not only in the technology industry but in the tech
press as well.

“But I think many involved in the show also know that (the difficulties) are
not a forever thing and that they need to continue to look at products and
product categories.”

News Around the Web