All eyes are on SuperComm 2002 as an industry barometer
By MEGHAN FULLER
The 2002 SuperComm conference and exhibition, to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from Sunday, June 2, through Thursday, June 6, may be more relevant now than at any time in its 15-year history, contends Jack Chalden, SuperComm general manager. "We're looking for a lot of indicators as to where we are going technologically, which is what the show is for, but also where we are going in terms of the long-awaited recovery that manufacturers are so anxious to see," he says.
Always a reflection of the industry as a whole, SuperComm has not been unaffected by the economic climate. "Some of our exhibitors have become more cautious with their spending," admits Chalden. "We'll see, predictably, that travel budgets and the entertainment aspect of the show will be more modest in scale. But happily, our exhibitor base is solid and most feel that this is the place they need to be."
According to Chalden, the most notable new feature is SUPERNest Zone. "Somewhere between 250 and 300 companies populate the show floor every year," he says. However, there has never been a place on the show floor designated for companies that have never hosted a company launch at a major trade event-until now, that is.
SUPERNest Zone will feature companies that meet certain selection criteria. First, the companies must have been founded during the period from June 1999 to present; they must focus on communications infrastructure hardware, software, and/or services; and they must not have hosted a company launch at a major trade event during 2001-2002
"In many cases, these organizations may not have anything more than a promising prototype," he explains. At press time, Chalden was unsure exactly how many companies would be included in SUPERNest, but he is expecting about 15-20 vendors.
SuperComm 2002 boasts a free programming component-open to all attendees-that includes keynotes and plenary sessions, Industry Update sessions, the Enterprise Networking and Services Conference (EntNet), technology demonstrations, and the Exploration Theater, located on the show floor. According to Chalden, 700-800 speakers will participate in one form or another in more than 200 sessions during SuperComm week.
Craig R. Barrett, president and chief operating officer of Intel Corp., will deliver the SuperComm opening keynote address on Tuesday (June 4) from 8 to 8:45 am. Cisco Systems' president and chief operating officer, John T. Chambers, will deliver the morning keynote on Wednesday, June 5, from 8:15 to 9 am.
Plenary panel discussions will take place throughout the week on such topics as "Global communications strategies," "Meeting future challenges of large enterprise networks," "Advancing to the new network: Winning strategies," and "Industry technology directions: An analyst view."
The Industry Update program has been expanded to two days this year: Monday (June 3) and Thursday (June 6). All attendees are invited to participate. For a complete listing, see "SuperComm 2002 Industry Update sessions."
SuperComm will target the enterprise professionals with two full days of free programming at the second annual EntNet. The conference begins Monday (June 3) at 9 am with an opening panel entitled "Future of the Internet: Is It Falling Apart?" Other topics of note include "How Convergence Affects My Services, If at All," "Enterprise Security: Will the Next-Generation Applications Really Be Secure?" and "NGNI: European Orchestrated Voice for Future Developments in Networks."
The fee-based programming is also an important component of the SuperComm experience, says Chalden. This year's event will feature the International Engineering Consortium (IEC) Communications Forum, Global Market Forum, IEC Executive Forum, and ever-popular Telecom Investor Forum. Registration information for all events can be found on the SuperComm Website, www.supercomm2002.com.
The IEC Communications Forum, June 3-6, is divided into seven individual forums: ASP, Carrier IP, Global Service Provider, ISP, Network Access Provider, and Wireless. Attendees can select full-day Tecforums and 90-minute sessions from a single forum, or they may mix and match sessions from all seven forums.
The Global Market Forum, June 2-3, will offer a series of 10 special workshops divided into three different tracks: market potential, priority technology, and regulatory trends and forecasts in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The IEC Executive Forum, June 4-5, targeted at service providers, equipment and software suppliers, network consultants and integrators, university professors, and analysts, will feature sessions on the future of global communications, strategies for new networks and services, and the future of IP and packet networks.
The fourth annual Telecom Investor Forum, June 3-5, will feature 20-minute presentations from the CEOs of 70 companies. As in the past, the forum will highlight U.S.-based companies in their second, third, or even fourth round of funding. But this year, the forum will also host several international companies as well a select group of vendors from SUPERNest Zone, chosen by a consortium of research analysts from the Yankee Group, Gartner, Telesis, Strategis Group, and Current Analysis.
"I don't know of a time when, under one group, those five [research fims] have elected to collaborate," says Chalden, "so we're very excited about that. It lends credibility to not only that event, but to SuperComm as a whole."
Also of note, the Georgia World Congress Center will feature a new hall this year, part of a third concourse that is expected to be completed in time for SuperComm. Companies will no longer occupy space in the hallways or, worse yet, in the Georgia Dome, says Chalden. "The new hall will help a lot in terms of profiling the exhibitors in a more effective way than last year," he reports. "The exhibitors finally will have a home worthy of their products."
The show floor itself has been expanded to accommodate up to 550,000 net sq ft, divided into two zones: Information Technology and Wireless Technology. More than 800 exhibitors are expected to participate.
The show floor will also house the SUPERDemos-at press time numbering four, though Chalden expects to add one more before the show opens. Designed "to give the collaborative nature of technology a higher profile," notes Chalden, the demos are sponsored by the DSL Forum, International Softswitch Consortium (ISC), Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), and MPLS Forum.
Exhibit hours are Tuesday (June 4), 9 am-6 pm; Wednesday (June 5), 9 am-5 pm; and Thursday (June 6), 9 am-4 pm.
SuperComm 2002 Industry Update sessions
Monday, June 3
IP: Next-generation networks (ISC session)
Advances in optical internetworking (OIF session)
Customer relationship & service management
Enterprise service & network solutions
Tools for a winning business strategy (Supplier Diversity session)
Wireless data & Internet access
Metro-area optical networks
Network & operations management
VPN & IP service opportunities
View from the top: Roadmap for the future (Supplier Diversity session)
DSL for your network (DSL Forum session)
Fixed broadband wireless networks
Competing in today's communications marketplace
Migrating interactive communications to IP networks
Thursday, June 6
Voice & voice over DSL (DSL Forum session)
11:30 am-1 pm
All-optical networks: Applications & economics (OIF session)
Softswitch & the new services (ISC session)