Australian Exhibition Services' (AES) PC shows have become an institution in Australia, dating back to the beginning of the IBM PC era. This week's show in Melbourne has a slightly different name, possibly to reflect the changing times, and the reduction in the number of large shows around the country, but AES expects PC IT 97 to attract a very creditable 50,000 visitors.
The full new name of the show, in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney is PC IT, the Global Computing Communications and Networking Exhibition. AES MD Graeme Selby said the new title had been chosen to reflect the convergence of these technologies. "We've updated the way we group and present things too. A new badging system will enable exhibitors to identify key buyers, and the show layout has been organised so visitors can follow key product trails." Selby calls the two PC IT shows "a definitive umbrella event covering all major IT areas".
AES says key themes of this show will be communications, networking, the Internet and multimedia. Other regular themes include software, CAD, training and education, and services. 250 exhibitors are expected in a gross area of 15,000 square metres.
Admission charge is $20, but as always, exhibitors have been well seeded with visitor passes. The venue is Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Southbank.
HP's display at the Melbourne PC IT exhibition includes: desktop, notebook and palmtop PCs; industry-leading HP DeskJet and LaserJet printers; large format inkjet plotters and printers; all-in-one products; network servers; personal, desktop and network scanners; networking products and network management solutions; complete home photography and imaging system.
HP's double-storey stand will feature demonstrations of the PhotoSmart Digital Imaging System, as well as a dedicated corporate section. Corporate clients have also been invited to take part in a Gold Pass session before the general public admission. HP's newest products will also be on display, including the new HP DeskJet 1000cxi professional series printer.
HP's stand will also be attended by players from AFL club North Melbourne, and other AFL football personalities including Lou Richards and Ron Barassi. There will also be prize draws of HP products and free give-away items.
Agate Technology's stand has three main displays for IT Resellers.
Seagate elite 23 hard disk drive. This high-end drive can hold 23Gb of data in a 5.25in full height form factor. Resellers will be able to view a system using the Elite 23 to perform full-motion video editing. There are many varied markets for the reseller to enter with this drive.
Seagate tape backup. And you thought that tape backup was too slow! A TR4 Travan Tape Backup unit will be showing a full motion video clip of a Terminator movie running directly from the tape drive. Agate says you'll be able to see "very attractive sustained data transfer rates".
The fastest hard drive in the world. Seagate Cheetah drives have industry-leading speeds. They are the first hard drive to have a 10,000RPM spindle speed and a very fast seek time of 8ms. Agate says "these drives are perfect for system integrators who are building systems ranging from high-end workstations to enterprise- wide servers for the banking industry or reservation systems".
Hallmark is a manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of computer products and PC systems under the brand name "ViewMaster". These include monitors, keyboards, mouse and speakers. The company is a distributor for Canon (Printers/scanners), GigaByte (mainboards), Banksia (Modems), Artec (scanners), SVEC (networking), NEC (monitors), Panasonic (CD ROM, Printers), SOLA (UPS), Honeywell (keyboards, mice).
It also sub-distributes Microsoft (OEM) products and Intel (OEM) network cards. Hallmark has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Darwin.
At the PC Show Hallmark is launching the following products:
ViewMaster Dual Pentium II-based work group server. (product name - Herculeous Series) It comes with pre-installed Windows NT Server. It is targeted at the small business market.
Dual Pentium Pro-based work group server. It is based on Intel's server mainboard and is targeted at brand name conscious customers in the small business market. It will come with pre-installed Windows NT. (Hallmark is also considering bundling these systems with Microsoft's Small Business Server product when available.)ViewMaster Video Phone System. Based on Intel Pentium MMX processors and Intel's Business Video phone.
New ViewMaster 5500 Notebook. Supports up to MMX166 processor. Screen size 12.1in, hard drive 1.1Ð2.2Gb, lithium ion battery, ultra portable (weighs 2.6kg with battery and FDD). RRP from $2990.
New products include:
DVD from Panasonic; 6 CD stacker CD-ROM; Artec flatbed scanner and Scanrom.
Well known as a distributor of shareware, Manaccom will be showcasing its Easy Tutor range of tutorials. In most cases a profile can be set to customise the course to the user's existing knowledge. For example, "Quick Start", "Day-to-Day Operations", or "In-depth tutorial". A glossary of terms and an explanation of concepts helps the user understand the terminology and what a particular section of the course is addressing.
Learn computing. An introduction to computers at a basic level targeted at first-time users. Its primary aim is to build confidence and familiarise the user with PCs Get connected. An introduction to the Internet for users of browsers running under W3.11.
Windows 95. Demonstrates the easy-to-use interface for the inexperienced user to, in turn: go back up one level; try using the mouse in a simulated use of Win95; watch a demonstration; look up the glossary; check the W3.1 equivalent; swap to concepts; change one's profile or check what percentage of the course has been completed. Clearly the emphasis is on ease of use and non-threatening learning.
Office 95. Covers all the essentials of Word 95, Excel 95 and PowerPoint to ensure the user is able to be proficient as quickly as possible in Word 95. A more in-depth coverage for users who need to do more than the occasional document.
Office 97. Covers the essentials of the Office package and highlights the differences between office 95 and 97 to assist users who are upgrading.
Internet 97. Five comprehensive modules divided into sections provide in depth information, simulations and hands-on experience about the latest Internet technology for users of Windows 97NT 4. Containing eight hours of interactive learning, the user can gain hands-on experience of using all the features of Windows NT 4.0 in a fully simulated environment, while also understanding the concepts and benefits of using Windows NT 4.0.
Word 97. A complete structured training solution for Word 97 in both a CBT (no audio) and full multimedia (with audio) format.
Access 97. The simulated use of Access helps the user understand not only the product itself, but also the concepts in the use of databases.
Other course topics on display will include Excel 97, PowerPoint 97 and Outlook 97.
Resellers can purchase personal editions for resale at retail, and the titles are also available for site licence negotiation through resellers.
Data-Tech Software will be exhibiting its new release, MYOB Premier Accounting, for the first time at PC 97 Melbourne.
Data-Tech's Lance Shofer explains:
"MYOB Premier Accounting is the new dimension in multi-user accounting systems. For the first time businesses can benefit from a multi-user accounting system that is affordable and offers the power, flexibility and ease of use that MYOB is acclaimed for. It provides real-time updating so that as transactions are entered, the system is automatically updated data is current and up-to-the-minute at all times. ESP is $999.
MYOB Premier Accounting provides unique opportunities resellers. Never before has multi-user accounting software been so easy to sell! In addition, many customers will be upgrading or networking their computer systems to take full advantage of MYOB Premier's features and to ensure they gain the best performance from their hardware and software investment.
This provides incremental sales opportunities for resellers in addition to the sale of MYOB Premier."
Creative Pacific's Nick Angelucci says DVD is getting high focus at Creative Pacific's stand:
"It's been on everyone's shopping list for a long time and now it's finally here. DVD, or more importantly, Creative's PC-DVD Encore kit with DynamicXtended Resolution, show here in Australia for the first time. Watch awesome Hollywood MPEG-2 quality movies and be immersed in big theatre Dolby AC-3 Digital Surround sound, off a home PC or even on your big screen TV. This DVD-ROM is the next generation double-speed DVD drive and also doubles as a normal 20 x CD-ROM drive to play existing CD-ROM titles. All this with a real knockout price that brings incredible value to customers wanting to upgrade to the latest and greatest technology.
Sound enthusiasts will be amazed by Creative's latest sound card offering, the Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold. Those who enjoy the AWEsome sound will also be surprised that a value edition of this hot card is also available - the Sound Blaster AWE64 Value. Together with a new line of satellite and subwoofer system speakers from Cambridge SoundWorks, previewed for the first time, this combination will make anyone's PC shake, rattle and roll.
Creative Pacific also distributes the Plustek's range of OpticPro flatbed colour scanners, Innomedia's Infowave communication solutions and Vivid's Combo V.34 and ISDN products."
One of the major new products that Cybec has recently announced is VET Mail - the corporate approach to virus-free e-mail. The company says the usage of e-mail is growing at an enormous rate, and like the fax, it will not be long before it becomes an assumed standard for every business. Cybec spokesperson Frances Ludgate told ARN:
"Unfortunately, new technology brings with it new problems. We are all familiar with the standard viruses and with the newer macro viruses, and it is the latter which are the problem for e-mail users.
Macro viruses hide themselves within Word documents, so a seemingly innocuous letter, memo or fax, attached to an e-mail, can be the carrier of a potentially disastrous virus.
We find that most larger organisations have a good antivirus policy to cover their servers and workstations, but they still have difficulty preventing their users from interfering with the workstation protection - either turning off the resident protection or removing the software by mistake.
For this reason, protecting the e-mail gateway is a sensible precaution to take: this stops virus-infected e-mail entering the business, and more importantly, it prevents your organisation from sending out infected e-mail to your customers, suppliers and other contacts.
VET Mail is extremely thorough, checking through e-mails, analysing each component and quarantining any infections found. VET Mail is installed to a dedicated NT Server and all e-mail, incoming and outgoing, is routed through it. Clean e-mail is of course, allowed through with no noticeable performance hit, thanks to the "store and forward" technology used by mail software."
Sybiz has a new point-of-sale (POS) module for its Windows-based system Sybiz Vision, designed to assist any business which uses a cash register or cash drawer to help control stock flow.
The company says the Australian designed module helps keep an accurate record of stock on a daily basis to fit in with high frequency re-ordering schedules - something particularly useful for retailers of high-volume, low-cost or perishable goods. It's also designed to save time at the end of each day reconciling cash receipts and organising the banking of takings.
South Australian electronics business owner, Ian Eglington, has been testing the new Sybiz module in his store at Maitland, 100km from Adelaide. "We installed the point-of-sale module in early March as beta software, and have been running live on the system since then," said Ian.
"I am very impressed with the speed of the operation and ease of use of the Sybiz POS system. The speed with which we have been able to train staff has been extremely good. Casual staff such as school students have required only half an hour's training," he said.
Sybiz says using the integrated Sybiz Debtors/POS module means records are updated as each sale is processed.
This gives users of the system the ability to determine precise stockholdings at any time during the day, allowing them to reorder only what they need to replace stock sold. An integrated forms editor gives users full control of the layout of their receipts, invoices or dockets.
Interesting products to watch out for:
Acme Portable - A 13.3in LCD monitor.
AMD - The K6 MMX enhanced processor.
Banksia - The new 56Kbit/sec version of the Wave modem.
BBF - XPERT@work and XPERT@play.
Canon Australia - Powershot 350 camera takes 640 x 480 pixel images and has an LCD screen.
Chips and Bits - flat screen LCD monitors.
Compsys Australia - help desk and product control packages.
Dual Technologies - Everex and Dual notebooks.
Educom - CourseWizards educational packages.
Epson - world's first XGA portable multimedia projector.
Focal Point Computing - graphics and video editing cards.
Formosa Electronics - 29in multimedia monitor and TV tuner card.
Imation - SuperDisk LS-120 drive and media.
Ingram Micro - well, we don't know what they'll be doing. The AES handout says "A single source solution to real-time account specific pricing, product availability, ordering, order and RMA stamp on 36,000 products from 1100 suppliers through the internet."
Mitsui Computer - P-SYNCH package for administering passwords centrally.
PowerQuest - Now this is an example of where upper case letters in the middle of a product name can get you in trouble. The product is called DriveImage, but we guess they mean Driveimage. Drivel is not a good image for a product. Oh, it allows you to install a complete workstation image across the network.
Tektronix - The Phaser 560 colour laser printer.
Vital Solutions - Shakespeare Speech Writer, a voice-operated command system for PCs.
Z-Tek - The new Olympic range of PCs.
Sony - highlighting its new 2 x Write/8 x Read ATAPI CD-R drive, which Sony says is a "world first".
Australian Exhibition Services
Tel (03) 9261 4500
Fax (03) 9261 4545