FOSE rolls with the IT times

There will be plenty of new IT for government on display at FOSE next month, but the biggest change will be the trade show's new home. FOSE will be the first event held in the new Washington Convention Center.

The new center will house 400 exhibitors showing off the latest technology for helping government agencies do business, spread out over 100,000 square feet. Visitors will find the new facility more accommodating to high-tech pursuits than the old convention center, the site of most of the previous 26 FOSE trade shows.

'It's very exciting being the first event in the new facility,' said Bill Howell, executive vice president of the trade show group for Post Newsweek Tech Media Inc. of Washington, which produces FOSE and also publishes GCN. 'It's more like a five-star hotel than a convention center. It's also got the technology built in as opposed to the old facility, where you had to bring it yourself.'

Security's the star again

For the second year in a row, the nation's focus on security will play a part in many of the offerings at FOSE, but 2003 will yield more answers to users' questions, Howell said. A new feature is the Homeland Security Center, which will highlight systems in use across the country.

'Last year, everybody was reeling from 9-11, but there hadn't been enough time to see what agencies were doing,' Howell said. 'This year, we are going to look at a bunch of systems that are actually already protecting the country.'

Twelve agencies'from local governments such as Arlington County, Va., to federal offices such as the Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater project'will demonstrate their domestic defense technology.

E-government again will play a lead role at FOSE. E-Town, a display of state and local e-government efforts at last year's trade show, will be greatly expanded. This year, 25 e-government projects will be demonstrated, including 10 federal programs and six international efforts.

A keynote address by Stephen J. Rohleder of Accenture of Chicago will describe the company's global scorecard on e-government.

The GCN Management Conference will identify 'the hardest problems in government to solve,' Howell said, and offer solutions to them.

Another new feature, the Small Business Pavilion, is intended to help government procurement workers keep up with several recent changes in acquisition rules. The display will match agencies and systems integrators with small businesses that can help them meet mandates for small-business contracting.

Visitors also can attend several education sessions at the Storage Area Network/Network Security Pavilion designed to help them meet the growing need for flexible, secure data storage.

Although there hasn't been a quantum leap in IT that is likely to set FOSE abuzz, Howell said, exhibitors will display many intriguing mobile technologies, including handheld e-mail devices, ruggedized tablet PCs and wireless language translators.

Mike Lazaridis, president of Research in Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Ontario, will give a keynote address on wireless applications in use today and the future of the technology.

Older technologies also will be on display. 'Not everybody's throwing out their mainframes,' Howell said. 'There's still a need for tried-and-true technology.'

But a new wrinkle that many agencies face is adapting new procurements to their enterprise architecture.

'That's a new mind-set government has,' he said. 'Vendors not only have to wow buyers with technology, but they also have to fit it into an agency's architecture.'

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