Internet World Fall 2001 means business

The unrelenting momentum of the Internet as a tool for employing creative and cost-effective new ways of doing business will be the driving theme of next week's Internet World Fall 2001 trade show in New York.

The show will host a sub-set of three other events at the same location: StorageNext 2001, Streaming Media East 2001, and an event called IT-Free, according to organizers. StorageNext 2001 will deal with current storage issues such as networking and storage management software; Streaming Media East 2001 will bring together vendors involved in moving Internet streaming technologies to market; and IT-Free will offer a forum, directly related to the events of Sept. 11, on how to avoid disruptions in a business network.

Despite the back-to-basics approach parroted by many businesses in the aftermath of the dot-com era and the subsequent economic fallout, traditional businesses have continued to embrace the Internet as a way to optimize their productivity in the post-dot-com age, said Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

Li said that within companies today, "spending on hardware may be down, but a lot of stress is still being placed on using the Internet business model."

Because of this, vendors showing off Internet access devices and other hardware at the show will take a backseat to software companies and other vendors whose applications offer businesses ways to get rapid return on investment from Internet-based strategies, Li said.

Examples of this include e-business platforms such as the one from InsureHiTech, which offers insurance companies a complete online insurance agency interface that connects to a number of large underwriters such as Atlantic Mutual and St. Paul. InsureHiTech's platform can cut the cost of submitting a policy request by one-third through a variety of measures, such as eliminating the need to re-enter customer data for each underwriter, according to Rick Maloy, CEO of InsureHiTech, based in Princeton, N.J.

"We offer a complete insurance agency interface," Malloy said. "And we are taking our platform and offering it to other companies as their (Web-based) front end."

Online transaction processing technology, Internet content management products, and e-mail marketing systems will also take center stage at the trade show.

Officials for Lexign Inc., of Nashua, N.H., will be on hand at the show demonstrating their Trusted Transaction Management technology, an XML-based system that offers companies transaction processing that incorporates authentication and digital signatures.

Indicative of the continued migration of traditional, non-dot-com businesses to the Internet is the change in the demographic of online advertising dollars, Li said.

"In 2000, only a third of all the spending on online advertising was coming from traditional companies, two-thirds of it was coming from dot-coms and other startups. This year, two-thirds of it is coming from traditional marketing, real businesses, and these are real dollars," Li said.

Kerry Lange, conference director for Streaming Media East, agrees that the buzz over the Internet has now settled in the traditional boardroom.

"The message is 'It's time'. In the first two years of this show it was 'Wow, this is really hot technology.' We are now at the stage where companies are implementing this technology, and the biggest uptake has been in the enterprise space, companies looking for ways to maximize corporate communication," Lange said.

Organizers are expecting more than 400 companies to participate in the trade show, which takes place December 10-14 at New York's Javits Convention Center.

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