Fiber a growing presence at supercomm 98

May 1, 1998

Fiber a growing presence at supercomm `98

By GRACE F. MURPHY

Supercomm `98, with its theme of "The World`s Meeting Place for Total Communications Solutions," wouldn`t be complete without exhibits and seminars devoted to fiber-optic technology. Fiber aficionados will have to wade through various technologies and applications during the June 7 through June 11 conference to find their favorite subject, but they won`t end up disappointed.

The annual conference, sponsored by the Telecommunications Industry Association and United States Telephone Association, is being held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. According to conference statistics, 27% of all supercomm `97 attendees were interested in fiber-optic transmission equipment, and 21% were interested in Synchronous Optical Network (sonet) and lightwave transport technologies.

The focal point for fiber optics on the show floor will be the Fiber-optics Pavilion, sponsored by this publication. The pavilion, located between aisles 7700 and 8000 near the entrance to the West Exhibit Hall, will feature information and offerings from 30 companies in the areas of broadband communications, laser and light-emitting diode reliability, fiber-optic cable, network management, interoperability, Synchronous Optical Network (sonet), and related technologies and publications. Fiber companies inside and outside the pavilion also will display new products (see "supercomm `98 Product Showcase" on page 81 of this issue.)

The exhibit hall will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, and from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, International Engineering Consortium (iec) seminars conclude in mid-afternoon to allow participants ample time to examine the product offerings on the show floor.

The conference also provides more than 250 educational sessions, featuring 850 speakers. More than 30 of the sessions relate directly to fiber-optic technology. Sessions offered by the International Communications Association (ica) are designed for end-users and managers of communications and information technologies. The iec offers forums designed for information industry executives and managers. The ieee Communications Society--International Conference on Communications (icc) will present technical papers on recent advances and applications of telecommunications and information processing. The supercomm Global Telecom Market (gtm) paid workshops are designed to allow national and international service providers and equipment and software providers a chance to work on global business issues or to learn how to better profit from conducting business internationally. gtm forum registration will open at 11:00 a.m. Sunday to accommodate early meetings.

On Monday, attendees interested in fiber optics might find the 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. industry update session, "Realizing the Benefits of Broadband Services," useful. The session explores technologies and applications that make broadband services and delivery better. The group chairman is Phillip Grove, market development manager, semiconductor group, Motorola. Topics and speakers are "Building a National Fiber Network," John Fleming, executive vice president, ixc Communications; "Implementing High-Speed wan Options; Frame Relay & Voice over Frame Relay," Todd Krautkremer, vice president, marketing, Sync Research; and "Inverse Multiplexing for atm," David Yates, executive director of marketing, 3Com.

Also of potential interest are "atm Management--The Driving Issues," Pamela Moffitt Dodge, director of product strategy, Ascend Communications; "Gigabit Ethernet--Help or Hype," Kon Leong, president, GigaLabs; "Cable Modems," Andrew Audet, director of marketing, Motorola; and "Building the Public Broadband Network," Scott Waid, marketing director, BellSouth Business Systems. (For sessions, workshops, and tutorials, see "Finding fiber at supercomm `98" on page 29.)

As in years past, a number of industry experts will share their knowledge and technology visions during the conference. Dr. Hisashi Kaneko, president of nec Corp., will give the supercomm opening global address on Sunday, June 7, at 5:15 p.m. Kaneko will discuss how nec is meeting the information society`s growing need for multimedia solutions for access and use of information.

On Monday, June 8, the icc, ica, and supercomm sponsor two morning plenary speakers. Arno Penzias, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and vice president and chief scientist at Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs Innovations, will share his vision of how technology will affect businesses and society in the future. Adding a governmental perspective to the future of technology is U.S. Representative and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, r-ga. Gingrich will offer a current and future perspective of where the telecommunications industry is and where he sees it going. The plenary session lasts from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

At 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Richard Notebaert, Ameritech`s chairman and chief executive officer, will deliver the supercomm keynote address. Notebaert is expected to cover the global telecommunications scene and touch on local and long-distance telephone communications, cellular and paging technologies, electronic commerce, security monitoring, cable TV, online services, and more.

Wednesday`s keynote plenary presentation addresses the directions, near-term perspectives, and competitive features of the computer and software industries. Edward Zander, chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems, will deliver the address at 5:15 p.m. George Gilder, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute, will give the supercomm closing address Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Gilder contends that all business have to come to terms with the growing power of the silicon in computer chips and the silica in fiber optics.

Event sponsors will provide exhibitor lists and planning guides to help conferees navigate their way through the exhibit halls and educational offerings. Armed with reading glasses and comfortable shoes, anyone who wants to find out about the latest fiber-optic breakthroughs should be all set. q

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