Dispatch from Interop 2012 by Phil Hippensteel

Las Vegas isn’t usually cloudy, but Interop 2012 — a show devoted to IT innovation — was full of cloud signs, cloud talk, and cloud-related give-aways. Large and small vendors praised the idea of data, telephony, and video in the cloud. It seemed as if every major vendor at the Las Vegas show was on the bandwagon. HP and Dell made a big splash by having large booths facing visitors as they entered the show.

Also, there were subtle messages in smaller booths about the future of computing. LG, who hadn’t been at the show before, was showing the Cloud Monitor, a desktop visualization device. By any ordinary definition, these devices were TV/monitors. Yet, they were also full-featured VMWare clients using a Teradici Processor. Are we going back to the days of mainframe dumb terminals?

One of the big surprises, especially to their competitors, was the large and very busy booth hosted by videoconferencing vendor Huawei (pronounced like "wall-way"). This Chinese manufacturer made it clear that they intend to become part of the American market. With telepresence systems priced well below Polycom and Cisco, they were the only major conference vendor present at the show. Huawei was also active in the press room, seeking visibility by giving dozens of interviews to the American press agents.

One important announcement made at the show revealed that IXIA, a large test equipment vendor is acquiring Anue Systems, manufacturer of network simulation devices. Ixia’s booth focused on measuring network performance at strategic points, including entrance and exit points, to any cloud service provider.

Another exhibitor, Avaya (like Cisco, HP, Juniper, and Enterasys) has entered the BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) market. Avaya's new software, Identity Engines 8.0, runs on the company's access control server and helps IT control mobile device management. The company says that the software is designed to deliver consistent wired and wireless network access to all user devices in a facility, whether they are on wired or wireless networks. Once some case studies of the software are available, we will share them with you.

Phil Hiippensteel, PhD, is a professor of information systems at Penn State Harrisburg.

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