Enterprise Wireless becomes a mobile phone show

by Sniffer | posted on 13 October 2004

The only hotspots at the Enterprise Wireless show in Olympia appeared to be amateur ones - plus BT OpenZone, fishing for business cards by offering a free hour's connection. This year, the main exhibitors are Vodafone, Orange, mmo2, - everybody except Virgin (don't do mobile data) and T-Mobile.


The word on the aisles was that the reason T-Mobile isn't here, is that the staff are all leaving.

<1/> Paperberries?

"The Deutsche Telekom people are insisting that people who work in Hammersmith, London, should move to Hertfordshire, and also do three days work each week in Bonn," remarked one insider. "Naturally, all the talented people are high-fliers who like the London social scene. They're leaving. Empty cubicles abound in Hammersmith."

Ironically, T-Mobile is doing a big Office Anywhere data card push, and launching its "convergence" initiatives. Obviously, this isn't something you'd want to mention at an enterprise wireless exhibition.

The Blackberry was prominent on the mmo2 booth. Unfortunately, not the new Blackberry which was announced last week in Europe. "That's on the Vodafone booth," admitted the mmo2 exhibitors. But at least they had lots of paper mockups of the old one.

Vodafone did, indeed, have the new 7730, costing £249 a month, with a £36 per month tariff "includes 6 megabytes of email usage in the UK" said Vodafone, hoping nobody knows how much email they shift, presumably. Most of us will send and receive that much in a day.

Mobile printers made a high proportion of the hardware on show. The herd of stuffed zebras were advertising (surprise) the

<1/> Plushies ...

Zebra R2844 thermal printer range.

Nice stuffed animals for the plushies but hopelessly outclassed by the Pentax printers and scanners being shown by distributor RGI Mobile Solutions.

They'd have scored heavily in the PR brownie points business - if only they'd had a web site, wouldn't they ... best I can do is the mail of Mike Gerschel

The printers were astonishing, truly. The resolution varied - choice of 200 dpi or 300 dpi. The thermal paper "guaranteed for eight years" was paper. Not just curly paper; A4 high contrast white, with true black print.

The scanners were also good, and they showed some nice housings; truck-mount, brief-case mount, and even a special ruck-sack mount.

<1/> really nice print quality

There were some real surprises. What was KPMG doing here? "They're hoping to sell expensive consulting services, duh," remarked a media colleague. Well, yes, duh to you too; but why did they expect to find customers here?

"Good question," said a rival consultant. "This year, we seem to have no shortage of mobile phone companies, but they can't honestly expect to be able to meet people here they never heard of, right?"

And heavens above, Red-M? Thought they were makers of an obsolete Bluetooth Internet access point? "No, these days, we do intrusion detection," explained the staff, demonstrating an all-round WiFi and Bluetooth and everything package.

Word on the aisles? "They have no more money than they did, but they're making a big play in the US. Hopefully they'll get some VC cash." Word in the press pack: "Red-M has signed up eight new partners to its Red-Alliance Partner programme." List includes Armadillo, Centrecore, Dataplex, Infosystems, Peapod, Quotech, and Wavestream. And in the UK, Sphinx. But if you want a Red-M Bluetooth AP, look on eBay.

Promotion of the show: a table-football game.

<1/> Star player ...

You put your business card in the hat (duh) but then you get an extra chance to win some tickets for a real football match if you beat the staff. "You'll easily beat me," said their star American player.

<1/> Not star attraction

The player was, definitely, not the star attraction on the Wireless Workplace booth. Oh, no certainly not. This was Enterprise Wireless Technology, not Storage Technology, next door, where people were distributing toys (teddy bears, blue laser key-rings, chocolate) via the agency of very heavily made-up gurlies with gold sparkle eye-lids and glued-on bras (very scanty) - this was serious stuff. Nonetheless, I did notice that several of the football players appeared to take their eyes off the ball from time to time ...

<1/> Work where?

Meanwhile, there was one genuine hotspot operator there. BT OpenZone. "Everybody's got to work somewhere ... why not here?" - nice slogan. "We are the biggest hotspot operator in the UK," said one of the t-shirt wearers. "We say that wherever you go, you'll go past one of our hot-spots."

That's one way of putting it, certainly ...

Just a quick walkabout at EWT - You can discuss this article on our discussion board.