At an industry event where highlights were few, the launch of the second Bananas in Pyjamas title It's Party Time, stood out. However, it was difficult to see the value for the IT channel.
The Melbourne show might go down as a study on what happens when two organisations with IT events get together but fail to share information effectively. Some exhibitors did not even know that the two shows had merged for Melbourne. The organisers were not able to identify the crowd-pulling attractions.
PC IT, or the PC Show, has been running for 15 years, and Interact is in its third year. BIP might have been the star attraction for the latter, which focuses on interactive multi-media products. However, the business of the IT channel is business, so what did the show bring for the channel?
If you looked carefully at the Source Technology stand, you would have seen what is believed to be the first Australian-built Intel Quad Xeon "Sitka Cabrillo" super server. According to Source technical director David Duncan, by day three he had collected about 50 reseller sales leads. "Many visitors, and even some resellers, didn't know what they were looking at though," Duncan said. "Until now with the Xeon, the Pentium Pro has remained Intel's premium server CPU," he added. "As well as faster memory handling, the Sitka Cabrillo can run up to 4GB."
Design Central demonstrated (and won the award for the best new product) the CD CarD, a card shaped disc, playable on a regular CD-ROM drive, that holds up to 16MB of data or multimedia presentation.
QD Innovative promoted the Rise mP6 CPU, claiming a 50 per cent advantage over comparable x86 CPUs at the same frequency. Rise Technology CEO, David Lin, who actually took time to visit his Australian distributor's stand, said that the company exists to fill a need in the basic PC market. Lin insisted that to win this business, his company has to achieve better CPU performance. Among the exhibitors looking for channel partners was distributor Modem Wholesale, part of the Swann Group. Office manager Sophie Swann was demonstrating Webworks 98, the Internet toolkit bundled with the SwannSmart series of 56Kbps modems.
Another PC IT debutante distributor, Peripheral Sources International, displayed a range of components including Viking memory products and the Cybercomp TAT 15in rotatable flat screen monitor. PSI managing director Paul O'Connor said that for him, one of the best things about the exhibition was the apparent absence of low quality unbranded components on offer. He suggested this was an indication of the downturn in the region and a reflection on quality product surviving.
Some, although there were many notable absentees, of the usual vendors displayed their wares, but for those in the channel, especially with a PC focus, the attractions were humble. v